Total visitors right now: 115

Logged-in members:

Dragonfly
Emerson Champion

Click here to check your private inbox.

Welcome to Stand Firm!

Responding to “Rainbow” Warriors

Friday, March 9, 2007 • 11:44 am

Those wearing a rainbow sash or insignia publicly declare that: 1. they unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church and/or 2. that they are themselves willfully and unrepentantly engaging in homosexual sex. The display represents an attempt to abuse the Lord’s table for political gain and public notoriety. If permitted it will cause great injury to their own souls and to the Body of Christ. As ordained ministers of the gospel and pastors of a flock it is, in my opinion, our duty to prevent this abuse.


How do orthodox pastors respond to a rainbow presence on Easter morning?

Those wearing a rainbow sash or insignia publicly declare that: 1. they unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church and/or 2. that they are themselves willfully and unrepentantly engaging in homosexual sex.

The display represents an attempt to abuse the Lord’s table for political gain and public notoriety. If permitted it will cause great injury to their own souls and to the Body of Christ. As ordained ministers of the gospel and pastors of a flock it is, in my opinion, our duty to prevent this abuse.

I suggest the following as perhaps the best way of handling such an eventuality both for those enslaved by the sin of homosexual behavior and those who ennable their enslavement, not to mention the congregation at large.

1. Between the peace and the offeratory (or during announcements), the rector or senior pastor invite those with rainbow insignia to step aside into an antechamber while the senior warden or assistant pastor leads the announcements. Those wearing the insignia unwilling to meet in the antechamber will be denied communion

2.  Once assembled the rector or senior pastor should read aloud the exhortation found on page 316 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

Beloved in the Lord: Our Savior Christ, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood as a sign and pledge of his love, for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of his death, and for a spiritual sharing in his risen life. For in these holy Mysteries we are made one with Christ, and Christ with us; we are made one body in him, and members one of another.

Having in mind, therefore, his great love for us, and in obedience to his command, his Church renders to Almighty God our heavenly Father never-ending thanks for the creation of the world, for his continual providence over us, for his love for all mankind, and for the redemption of the world by our Savior Christ, who took upon himself our flesh, and humbled himself even to death on the cross, that he might make us the children of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and exalt us to everlasting life.

But if we are to share rightly in the celebration of those holy Mysteries, and be nourished by that spiritual Food, we must remember the dignity of that holy Sacrament. I therefore call upon you to consider how Saint Paul exhorts all persons to prepare themselves carefully before eating of that Bread and
drinking of that Cup.

For, as the benefit is great, if with penitent hearts and living faith we receive the holy Sacrament, so is the danger great, if we receive it improperly, not recognizing the Lord’s Body. Judge yourselves, therefore, lest you be judged by the Lord.

Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God’s commandments, that you may perceive wherein you have offended in what you have done or left undone, whether in thought, word, or deed. And acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life, being ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food.

And if, in your preparation, you need help and counsel, then go and open your grief to a discreet and understanding priest, and confess your sins, that you may receive the benefit of absolution, and spiritual counsel and advice; to the removal of scruple and doubt, the assurance of pardon, and the strengthening of your faith.

To Christ our Lord who loves us, and washed us in his own blood, and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father, to him be glory in the Church evermore. Through him let us offer continually the sacrifice of praise, which is our bounden duty and service, and, with faith in him, come
boldly before the throne of grace [and humbly confess our sins to Almighty God].

3. Follow this by reading Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:22-33, and or 1st Corinthians 6:9. In my opinion Romans 1 is best because it includes a condemnation of both male and female homosexual behavior.

4. Invite those living in a non-celibate homosexual life-style or relationship to repent of the sin of homosexual behavior. Invite those who support the blessing of such behavior to repent of facilitating/ennabling sin and contributing to the spiritual harm of others and to the church at large.

5. If they are ready to do so or at the very least admit that they have sinned and desire to be free of the sin and reconciled to the Lord, then invite them to remove their insignia and recieve communion at the rail.

6. If the offer of repentance is refused then, being in open, willful and notorious sin, they will not be invited to recieve communion (BCP 409). They may, however, come forward so that a priest may pray for their repentance and change of heart.

7.Write a letter to the diocesan bishop explaining the action and the circumstances (BCP 409)

end


278 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook
Comments:

Yep.

[1] Posted by DonaldH on 03-09-2007 at 12:43 PM • top

AMEN.

the SBBJ snarkster

[2] Posted by the snarkster on 03-09-2007 at 12:48 PM • top

In the communion service in the 1928 BCP the exhortations are a part of the service with these instructions:

THE EXHORTATIONS.

& At the time of the Celebration of the Communion, after the prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church, the Priest may say this Exhortation. And Note, That the Exhortation shall be said on the First Sunday in Advent, the First Sunday in Lent, and Trinity Sunday.

When the Minister giveth warning for the Celebration of the Holy Communion, (which he shall always do upon the Sunday, or some Holy Day, immediately preceding,) he shall read this Exhortation following; or so much thereof as, in his discretion, he may think convenient.

Or, in case he shall see the People negligent to come to the Holy Communion, instead of the former, he may use this Exhortation.

Fr. Matt is totally right in following this course. It is his duty as a priest.

[3] Posted by Marlin on 03-09-2007 at 01:11 PM • top

I wish this would happen at the Churchwide Assemblies of the ELCA.  Every year there is a sea of rainbow stoles.  Of course, we value “unity” above real truth in the Gospel.

[4] Posted by Wittenberg on 03-09-2007 at 01:15 PM • top

I’m told that this came up in the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago—a number of “rainbow protesters” who made quite a public point of receiving the sacrament.  Cardinal George denied it to them, explaining that they were inappropriately politicizing the sacrament, and therefore were committing sacrilege to do so. 

I don’t know the details of the event, but I’m told that was the judgment of the Cardinal.

[5] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 03-09-2007 at 01:34 PM • top

Sorry Matt, but as a member of the “mushy middle” I would have to respectfully disagree.  I have always thought of the Episcopal church as the place where the horse is led to the water, shown how good the water is, shown other horses drinking, and had the benefits of water explained to him.  But, we don’t shove the hose down his throat.  If he wants to clench his lips and die of dehydration, well, sorry, he had his chance and made his choice. 

Read the Exhortation to the entire congregation, we all could use it. 
Do the Penitential Order if you like. 
Be sure and do the invitation to confession and the Confession of Sin.
You can emphasize any particular phrases you like while staying within the text.
At this point you’ve done your duty.  All of us have to look into our hearts and detemine if we are worthy of coming to the table.
The way I look at it, we’re trying to save sinners, not drive ‘em away.

[6] Posted by Dorpsgek on 03-09-2007 at 02:10 PM • top

Dorpsgek,

I think doing as you suggest would be a terrible sin. Not only would I knowingly facilitate the abuse of the of the Lord’s body and blood, but I would also knowingly contribute to the spiritual harm of souls.

Moreover,  I would also demonstrate to the entire congregation that their are no communal consequences for notorious sin. So if months later Mr. Smith comes to the altar rail with his mistress Trixie whilst Mrs. Smith and the kids are in the back pew…I will have lost the intergrity and authority to do anything about it. If I commune the rainbow warriors why not Mr. Smith and trixie?

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 02:26 PM • top

Mr. Kennedy,
I’m sure that this was an easy piece to write, given that all you had to do was to adapt your existing and well-established procedure for denying communion to those living together without marriage or to divorced persons who present themselves at the altar.  After all, you cannot permit God to be mocked by permitting open sinners to come for communion, can you? The specific sin being committed is completely irrelevant, isn’t it?
In some parishes of the past, special coins or markers were distributed to those that the priest and his inner clique thought worthy to be admitted to the communion service.  They’re mostly found in antique stores these days, but I’m sure that a special supply could be easily manufactured.
Before I left the church, had there been such a rainbow warrior movement, I’d certainly have worn a ribbon or sash in support of my gay brothers and sisters.  That, I suspect, is the real concern here, the fear that numbers of your neighbors and parishioners who are not gay but nevertheless might wear the rainbow in support.

[8] Posted by taomikael on 03-09-2007 at 02:35 PM • top

taomikael, and your analogy will have some coherence on the day when those living together without benefit of marriage show up in Fr. Matt’s church wearing sashes and demanding liturgical blessings of their living arrangements.  Until then, you’ve missed the mark again.

[9] Posted by Phil on 03-09-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

I don’t doubt that +Matt would deny communion to anyone who showed up wearing a (let’s say ggreen) badge proclaiming support for a “blessing of divorce” either.

I’m sure any divorced person who was willing to be repentant for their divorce would be welcomed.

Wrong tree to bark up.

[10] Posted by James Manley on 03-09-2007 at 02:47 PM • top

actually taomikael, writing this article was quite easy to write for precisely the reasons you articulate.

I have had to deny communion to one of my parishioners who claims to be a believer and abandoned his wife, also my parishioner, and would not agree to counselling or make any attempt at reconciliation and then sued for divorce without cause. It was a heartbreaking time.

Moreover, if I know someone who claims to be a believer is actively promiscuous, I call them to repentance and so long as they are willing to admit that sex outside of marriage is a sin, repent and do their best to stop and when they fall repent again, they may come to communion.

I would never, by the way, commune a non-celibate single heterosexual person who refused to acknowledge sex outside of marriage is a sin and told me point blank that he/she intended to promote heterosexual promiscuity in the parish.

Additionally, if a couple is living together, the policy of the parish is that we will only marry them if 1. they move out and vow celibacy for the remainder of their engagement or 2. if for economic reasons they cannot move out, they change sleeping arrangements and vow celibacy. Of course, when/if they mess up they promise to repent and try again.

[11] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 02:49 PM • top

Not to muddy the waters or take the thread off-topic (as I do waaaay to often), but I think that most of the exhortations listed would provide heat and light to many in the congregation (yours truly among them), not just those who wish to make a political statement.

I have not yet had the unpleasant experience of seeing anyone act like a “rainbow warrior” at the Eucharist.  I may not be able to stay for the service in good conscience if it happens on Easter Sunday.

[12] Posted by DeeBee on 03-09-2007 at 03:27 PM • top

If a person (or people) showed up on a Sunday wearing or otherwise showing participation in or support for behavior that is clearly prohibited by Holy Scripture, I would read the Exhortation to all at an appropriate place in the Liturgy.  And if the said person(s) came to the Communion rail, still wearing their symbol of Scriptural defiance, I would offer a short very quiet prayer in their hearing for a spirit of repentance to come upon them and then give them a blessing but not Communion.  Thankfully I’ve never had to do that.  And, yes, I have had to tell communicants who were caught in adultery that they were not to present themselves for Holy Communion until they gave me personal assurance that they had repented from such behavior.  So far no one has challenged me on that at the Communion rail.

[13] Posted by David+ on 03-09-2007 at 03:49 PM • top

DeeBee: In the 1928 BCP which I quoted earlier in this thread, the instructions for the exorations, it was a common practice 40 or 50 years ago to do just this. In some cases on a fixed schedule.

When the removed and altered the part of the communion service below, the instructions for self examination called for by Paul 1 Cor. 11:28-29.

YE who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins,
and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and
intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of
God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw
near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort;
and make your humble confession to Almighty God,
devoutly kneeling.


That in italic was removed. This was also a part of the service, it wasn’t optional.

[14] Posted by Marlin on 03-09-2007 at 03:50 PM • top

David+,

I thought about that too. The reason I suggested taking them aside is so that we might, if at all possible, avoid any scene or disruption at the rail. If the rainbow warriors are present en masse, I think they may not quietly accept a prayer for their repentence .

[15] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 03:55 PM • top

According to the rubrics on page 85 of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Exhortation was to be said after the prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church, on the First Sunday in Advent, the First Sunday in Lent, and Trinity Sunday.  In addition, the exhortation on page 86 was to be said on the Sunday, or Holy Day, immediately preceeding the Holy Communion, and he should read all or any of it he deemed convenient. 

This was done in my parish as I grew up, and since we always had Communion at the early service, it was said every Sunday at Morning Prayer, or the Great Litany, or the Communion itself, for the following week’s services.

And this is still the norm in my mission in South Dakota.

A form of the Exhortation is still available in Rite I of the 1979 prayer book, which may be used, in whole or in part, either during the Liturgy or at other times; although, it seems seldom used.

[16] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-09-2007 at 04:09 PM • top

Bear in mind that, according to the rubrics of the BCP (in the 1979 book, page 409), the priest who denies someone communion must notify the bishop in four days.

Matt+, good luck with +Skip.  Should this situation actually arise, you’ll be in my prayers.

[17] Posted by Id rather not say on 03-09-2007 at 04:29 PM • top

Thanks IRNS, that’s the point of number 7 above.

[18] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 04:54 PM • top

So the clear intent of the “sashayers” is to disrupt the Holy Communion and divide the church into factions.  Paul had much to say about both.  Denial of communion would be appropriate.  If you are going to be “prophetic” you need to be prepared for the consequences.  Check out the consequences of last Sunday’s gospel for instance.

[19] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-09-2007 at 05:20 PM • top

Matt—I must say that since you’ve admitted you’ve withheld Communion from someone—and for obviously very good reasons—your statement has a lot more credibility. I think having Communion as a weekly thing has made it much too easy for some people, whatever our sexual proclivities are. As I’ve grown spiritually in the Episcopal Church (yes, that has really happened!) I’ve begun to see that the confession is incredibly important. As Father Whiston said in his book “Instructions in the Life of Prayer” (a great book BTW) we really need to confess, either to a priest, or directly to God, our sins by name, not just “we have not loved our neighbors as our ourselves…”. But then, Fr. W. was basing his book on the ‘28 BCP, which clearly has a better grasp on sin and salvation. I pray that you have much courage if you are confronted with such a situation next month.

[20] Posted by DavidSh on 03-09-2007 at 05:21 PM • top

That, I suspect, is the real concern here, the fear that numbers of your neighbors and parishioners who are not gay but nevertheless might wear the rainbow in support.

People who leave Church, cold-turkey, care little if at all for their own souls.  I therefore find no warrant in your concern over this. 

However, if it helps, I suggest you think of it in terms of a parent denying candy to a child.  If you are still intent on chastising Matt+, my suggestion would that you:

a)  find a parent denying something (e.g., candy) to their child;
b)  chastize them, in front of their child;
c)  Duck (duck fast)
d)  Run   (run away fast)
e)  Come back here, and chastize Matt+

I promise you that if you do that, I’ll take you seriously from that point onwards.

[21] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-09-2007 at 05:31 PM • top

Davidsh,

Our parish did a men’s retreat on forgiveness led by Bishop Schofield.  It was very enlightening to a cradle Episcopalian who had never done a personal confession.  The end of the retreat featured to opportunity to confess our sins, by name and repent.  It was a remarkable event for me, personally and spiritually.  And go figure, there is actually a service in the BCP for such activity.  If you’ve never done a personal confession, you really aren’t confessing your sins (if all you rely on is the general confession in the BCP).  Ask your priest about it.

[22] Posted by usma87 on 03-09-2007 at 05:42 PM • top

Matt+, the folks who will wear a rainbow sash to Holy Communion are already looking for a confrontation of some kind.  I’d rather it happen in plain view of the congregation present and let them see what a rebellious spirit in people is capable of doing through people.  And, seeing that, I believe the parish itself would be more understanding and supportive of why I would do what I would do.  Let it occur in the light of day, the devil prefers darkness.

[23] Posted by David+ on 03-09-2007 at 05:53 PM • top

David+,

If you happen to be in the enlightened state of Tennessee, all three dioceses, there is a statute that applies, that makes it a first degree misdemeanor to purposefully disrupt a public worship service; and I have had to use that when in ministry back home.

[24] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-09-2007 at 05:59 PM • top

Chip, I happen to be in the great fence sitting Diocese of Lousiana.  Would it be that the boundary between us and Western Lousiana were just 45 miles further to the east!

[25] Posted by David+ on 03-09-2007 at 06:09 PM • top

I’m sure any divorced person who was willing to be repentant for their divorce would be welcomed.

A divorced person who is repentant for their divorce must separate from their second “spouse.”

In the “Mr. Smith and Trixie” case that Matt Kennedy cites, the question would be, if Mr. Smith divorces Mrs. Smith and marries Trixie, can he then receive communion?  The Catholic answer is “no.”

[26] Posted by Catholic Mom on 03-09-2007 at 06:18 PM • top

Fr. Matt,
How do you handle gluttonous smokers?  Practicing alcoholics?  Overeaters?  This is a sticking point for me on this sort of thing that you have described above, as I have over half a century as an Episcopalian seen all sorts of folks “living in sin” as it were, come to the rail for communion.

Respectfully,
John 316

[27] Posted by John316 on 03-09-2007 at 06:50 PM • top

John 3:16, the same way we would handle any other repentant sinner. The question is not, “are you a sinner?” The question is, “are you ready to acknowledge your sin and with God’s help overcome it. I have alcoholics in my congregation, but I do not know one of them who thinks drunkenness is good or who is not in some stage of struggle against this sin. Besseting sin will always be with each of us. The question is do you have a repentant or rebellious heart? Are you like the tax collector with regard to your sin or are you like the Pharisee. I would have no problem at all communing a homosexual who is struggling and often failing in his struggle, so long as he/she is committed to the struggle. See Romans 7.

Smoking…I’m not so sure I would put it in the same category as glutton etc…

[28] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 07:04 PM • top

sorry, got cut off.

Anyway, The basic assumption of every pastor I know, myself included, is that when my parishioners confess their sins and repent on a Sunday morning they mean it. The presence of the rainbow sashes is a public declaration that they do not.

[29] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 07:07 PM • top

The key to this is the fact that person wearing a rainbow on Easter Sunday are in defiance, unrepentant willfulness whose whole intent is to politicize the Lord’s table.  It is an act that dishonors his passion, crucifixion and resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday in particular.  It is an offense to our Lord and to Christian souls.  It is no different than putting a crucifix in a bottle of urine.

My concern is whether there will be an attempt to make this political “statement” at AMiA, REC, APA or other continuing churches.  I don’t know how many have closed communion, but the EMC church I have been attending is open.  There is the admonition in the bulletin of having a repentant heart and understanding the nature of the sacrament, etc.  There may also be an attempt in RC or other churches that would be having a communion service on Easter morning. 

I hope that this information gets distributed to others beside ECUSA churches.  I also wonder how many ECUSA clergy will be sporting the rainbow on their vestments.

[30] Posted by Gayle on 03-09-2007 at 07:19 PM • top

Fr. Matt’s recommendations apply to us all- that we should examine our own lives each and every time we come before the Lord’s table.  Holy Communion is a great gift that none of us deserve, me least of all. 

For myself, perhaps I will forgo a necktie on Easter- lest it be mistaken as too colorful, a cross worn on my chest will be sufficient, I think.
May the Peace of the Lord be with you,
Thomas

[31] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-09-2007 at 08:34 PM • top

Maybe I’m missing something here but where I come from, seeing people wear rainbow like insigna is not the equivalent of the gay pride warriors.  If you were to take them aside from the rest of the congregation and tell them to remove it because it causes a “distraction”, they’d tell you “De Colores *******!” and go find another Episcopal Church more open to the Cursillo movement.

I happen to own a pair of rainbow suspenders given to me when I made my Cursillo many moons ago and, believe me Matt, you do NOT want to ask me to remove them! smile

[32] Posted by Vintner on 03-09-2007 at 08:55 PM • top

Smuggs,

If they are cursillo people, all they’ll need to do is let me know. But on Easter Sunday with a planned protest, sorry, I’m going to ask.

[33] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-09-2007 at 08:59 PM • top

Ya know, if you had included in your piece that you had a protest scheduled to descend upon ya, it would have made a little more sense than just the picture of you standing up there on Easter Sunday asking everyone with rainbows to step aside.  Thank God we don’t have a Noah’s Ark Day or you’d really be in trouble.

For what it’s worth, put your warning in a polite way in the bulletin first.  That way you give a flare of what is going to happen so that you don’t embarass anyone needlessly or I suspect that they will indeed leave your church and not come back.  Good luck.  Can’t say I’ve ever had anyone threaten to descend upon me with rainbow warriors.  But then again, I can’t say that I’ve ever been at an Episcopal Church that denied communion to non-celibate homosexuals either.  That may be saying something but I bet that many of our fellow conservatives can say the same thing.  Good luck again!

[34] Posted by Vintner on 03-09-2007 at 09:10 PM • top

There’s GOT to be a difference from the bright colors of Cursillo, and the “pastel” colors of the rainbow folk. 

Isn’t there?
Grannie Gloria

[35] Posted by Grandmother on 03-09-2007 at 09:10 PM • top

Not that I’ve seen.  Seriously.

And Grandmother, not to be cute or anything, but I defy anyone to ask people wearing pastel colors to leave church on a Sunday morning.

I remember my own grandmother bemoaning the loss of the word “gay.”  Now we’re seeing the loss of the word “triangle”, the “rainbow”, and “pastel colors.”

The heck with it.  I’m still going to enjoy Easter morn, I’m going to celebrate the risen Lord, and if the Easter Bunny brings me eggs filled with pastel M&M’s, they’re gone!  The day after a Lenten chocolate fast, NOTHING is safe.  I don’t care WHAT color it is! smile

[36] Posted by Vintner on 03-09-2007 at 09:24 PM • top

Catholic Mom:

Two item:

There is Biblical permission to divorce & remarry (that’s where I differ from Catholic teaching, annulment work around I don’t like in those cases), but being Protestant I’d point to adultery and nonbelieving spouse leaves.

Second item—AMEN!!!! Thank you for pushing this all the way back to the Biblical standards!!!

[37] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-09-2007 at 09:26 PM • top

Grannie,
I think the “rainbow folk” as you call them are doing everything they can to confuse the issue- I suspect they will count everyone not in black and white as one of their supporters when they report their “success” to the press.
It will be interesting to see what happens here, where I am guessing the bishop himself will be wearing a multi-colored stole to show his support.  I am certain that my own priest will be in the more traditional white with gold embroidery.  Not sure what he might do at the Communion rail with the “rainbow folk.”
Thomas

[38] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-09-2007 at 09:27 PM • top

It really is shameful that anyone would take the most glorious day of the year and plan to make a political statement in churches.  Absolutely shameful.  Maybe VGR could speak up and tell his people that Easter is about Jesus, not political agendas.  After all, VGR has rightly said that our focus should be Jesus.

[39] Posted by TonyinCNY on 03-09-2007 at 09:27 PM • top

I really think we should ignore their rainbow clothes and continue to worship the risen Christ.  Their craving for attention should not be rewarded and ALL attention should be given to the risen CHRIST with truly orthodox Scripture readings and sermon.
Some protesters have short attention spans but those who can comprehend will be deprived of the opportunity to distract us from the worship of the risen Christ. Some of them may not have experienced Orthodox rituals and belief and this might be an opportunity for some of these people to understand the sincerity of the congregation and our orthodox beliefs. It may be an opportunity for evangelism on our part.
Of course if the bullys in their group make a disturbance they should be escorted out quickly because we demand full attention be paid to the Risen Christ.

[40] Posted by Betty See on 03-09-2007 at 10:06 PM • top

Myself,I say do a pre-emptive pray-in and worship service at the Integrity offices.

[41] Posted by paddy on 03-09-2007 at 10:30 PM • top

From my DCNY blog:
Editor’s Note: It really is shameful and despicable to take the most glorious day of the year and use it for a political statement. This tells you what the gay lobby in ecusa is about. On the day of highest attendance, with the most visitors of any Sunday of the year, the focus of the gay lobby in ecusa is on themselves and not the resurrected Christ. Easter is a day of rejoicing and proclamation of the resurrection. The gay lobby in ecusa plans to make it a day of political statement. Again, this is shameful and despicable.

[42] Posted by TonyinCNY on 03-09-2007 at 10:44 PM • top

had there been such a rainbow warrior movement, I’d certainly have worn a ribbon or sash in support of my gay brothers and sisters.  That, I suspect, is the real concern here, the fear that numbers of your neighbors and parishioners who are not gay but nevertheless might wear the rainbow in support.

Yeah. Those neighbors and parishoners who voted, at a rate of about 8 to 1, against same sex marriage. Whatever.

[43] Posted by Dazzled on 03-10-2007 at 12:06 AM • top

Dear Dazed,

Yeah. Those neighbors and parishoners who voted, at a rate of about 8 to 1, against same sex marriage. Whatever.


Gee, if the vote was that lopsided, wonder how it is that the “reasserters” are scrambling so?  Or is that just for the donations to carry on the propaganda?
I’m reminded of the Jew whose friends saw him reading Dr. Goebbel’s work.  “What are you doing!?” they cried.  “How can you read that awful stuff?”  He shrugged.  “Just for a moment, it’s different—where else could I be so powerful to cause so much effect?”
What are the “reasserters” going to do to distinguish themselves when they no longer have the dread enemy of the sinister “Protocols of the Gay Elders” to oppose?

[44] Posted by taomikael on 03-10-2007 at 12:30 AM • top

taomikael,

This is a warning. Your last comment compared people you disagree with to those who gassed 6 million Jews. A more demeaning and insulting, not to mention false comparison is difficult to imagine. You are welcome to participate on this board. But when your vigorous argument which is welcome is replaced by insult then your time here will be at an end.

There will not be another warning.

[45] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 06:51 AM • top

I’ve got a question about supporting the gay agenda.  Is it sinful to sit in the pew and quietly disagree with the teaching that the homosexual life style is intrinsically disordered? 

If being gay and celibate is not sinful, is supporting the gay lifestyle but not doing anything to ‘advance the cause’ sinful or not?  Is the act of protest the sin in this case?

[46] Posted by Paul B on 03-10-2007 at 07:39 AM • top

Paul,

Thanks. It is primarily the act of support and protest in favor of homosexual behavior.

Here is how Jesus put it:

“And if anyone causes these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck…” Matthew 9:42

And here is a case study from 1st Corinthians:

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality mong you and of a kind that does not even occur among the pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?...When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. ” (1st Corinthians 5:1-5)

Rather than disciplining the sin, the Body rejoiced in it. Both the sin and those who had ennabled the sinner were in serious error.

[47] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 07:53 AM • top

Matt,

taomikael has repeatedly illustrated Godwin’s Law.  He is just a troll, and should have been banned as such long ago.

[48] Posted by William Witt on 03-10-2007 at 08:57 AM • top

I have seen pictures of the Rainbow sashers.  They don’t wear brightly colored clothes or a bright tie or rainbow suspenders.  They wear a wide sash from one shoulder to the opposite hip.  (like a deacon’s stole.) There is no possibility of mistaking them for Cursillistas or anyone else.
In the past they have focused on Catholic churches, usually the Cathedral church of a big city.  Local news stations and newspapers often film or take pictures at the main Easter Sunday mass of these churches. (Then they have a headline like “Christians celebrate resurrection”  in their Lifestyle page, or a six second clip on the six o clock news.)  This is why these churches are chosen by the protesters.  However since the internet is becoming the news medium for a larger and larger segment of the population, and since Stand Firm is so , well, outstanding, regarding this issue, I suppose it is possible that someone would decide to target Matt’s church. It really wouldn’t be a happy thing to have one’s Easter worship disrupted in that way.  And I am afraid the protestors would shout him down when he attempted to proceed as he says above that he would.  So I rather hope this doesn’t happen. 
  I do think that most gay people who are Christians in any sense, even when they have decided, with the help of Episcopal reasserters and others who agree with them, that their homosexual relationships are not sinful, would rather go to church on Easter Sunday and worship, rather than to be involved in a disruptive protest.  That is why these protests occur in only a few high visibility locations.
    By the way, Matt, why not smoking?  It seems to me to be wrong in the same way that gluttony and alcoholism are wrong.  It is injurious to the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Because of it people die much sooner, taking them away from their families and friends, perhaps preventing them from doing some work God has planned for them to do.  The expense of the habit can prevent them from paying just debts, buying things their families need, or giving money to the church or the poor.  And it is a compulsion, something one is a slave to, not free with the freedom of God’s children.  It is very addictive.  Many people can drink alcohol very moderately, having a glass of wine with dinner when it is offered and then not thinking of it for a month. It is a very rare person who can use tobacco that way.  Just a thought. 
Susan Peterson

[49] Posted by eulogos on 03-10-2007 at 09:01 AM • top

Susan,

I can point you to a myriad of very specific instances where sex beyond the realm of heterosexual marriage is cocondemned. Smoking on the other hand, whilst certainly bad for your health, is hardly addressed. I am not persuaded that 1st Corinthians 6:12-19 wherein Paul notes that the body is the Temple of the Lord addresses a vice of this sort, especially since the specific focus of the text is sexual immorality. Where the scriptures are clear and forthright so ought we to be. Where the scriptures are more vague then we ought not go about making bold declarations.

Smoking is a health hazard and in so far as it is destructive to the body, then yes it is a sin. I would certainly admonish a smoker ewith regard to passing this habit on to others or actively engaged in teaching others to smoke and then, if he persisted, keep him from communion. But I can’t imagine that happening. Aside from the rebellious teen, those above the age of 20 something who still smoke are generally not happy about it, want to quit and and have tried or are activbely trying to do so.

If an active homosexual would have the same attitude, then there would be no impediment.

[50] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 09:18 AM • top

Bill,

I am sure you are right. I just haven’t seen it until now. In any case taomikael has been warned and there will not be another warning.

[51] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 09:20 AM • top

Matt-
You wrote that you weren’t sure smoking was the same as gluttony.  I wasn’t comparing it with sexual sins. 

Both gluttons and smokers are usually unhappy with their situation. 

The people who bring up gluttony in this argument are dragging in a red herring and I let them set me a trail away from the main point of the discussion.

Susan

[52] Posted by eulogos on 03-10-2007 at 09:28 AM • top

Matt,

I’m not sure that one of the whole points of such a public political display is precisely to provoke the homophobes into responding in kind, by making a point of denying the eucharist.

One of the neat things about Easter and Christmas from the preacher’s point of view is that it provides a captive audience for evangelism.  It seems to me that the sermon might well be the place to make your point—to preach the good news of Christianity, the forgiveness of God’s grace, the possibility of a changed life, and God’s welcome to all who have sinned.  If there are those trying to make a political point, so much the better.  Make a counter point in your sermon that taking the eucharist does make a political statement—that Christ comes to me as one who both challenges and forgives me, and that Christ alone is Lord.  He pronounces judgment on all ideologies and false politics, and, of course, on sexual sin. Taking the eucharist means that I accept Christ’s judgment for and his forgiveness of all my sins.  It is not the place to make my own ideological judgments, but to accept his.  And be clear that Easter Sunday is decidedly not the time and place to promote our own ideological agendas.

Before communion, read the traditional exhortation to the entire congregation (not just the protestors), and then invite all those baptized Christians who repent of their sins, and who intend to lead a new life to come forward.  Then let God sort them out.

So this is just a suggestion.  If someone tries to politicize the eucharist, use the opportunity as a gracious teaching moment, rather than allowing yourself to be used by their agenda.  One of the most effective public scoldings I ever saw was at a televised Billy Graham Crusade when a group of protesters had been chanting about something or other (this was at the height of the Vietnam war).  The black gospel singer Ethel Waters had just stepped forward to sing, and she gave them a firm but gentle scolding, addressing them as “Children.”  I don’t remember the content of what she said, but her gentle Christian demeanor effectively silenced them. (Of course, they might also have been dragged off by the police, and we just didn’t see that on camera.) wink

[53] Posted by William Witt on 03-10-2007 at 09:30 AM • top

Second item—AMEN!!!! Thank you for pushing this all the way back to the Biblical standards!!!

Well, the credit goes more to the Pope than to me. smile  But seriously, I don’t get the Protestant view that a person can “repent” and be forgiven for dumping their spouse and taking a new spouse and then go on like nothing happened, just as they would with any other “past” sin in their life.  Living with someone who is not your lawful spouse (having abandoned your spouse) is an ongoing sin.  You can’t repent of it and be forgiven it until you stop doing it!  BTW, I think the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “blessing” of Prince Charles “marriage” was shameful.  His “wife” with whom he had been committing adultery for years,  had a living husband who she had abandoned to “marry” her lover.  How is blessing such a union worse than a same-sex blessing?  Depending on the circumstances, I think it could be a lot worse.  I would respect the orthodox Anglicans in their attitudes towards homosexual behavior if it didn’t seem as if they’d already bent (broken) the rules for heterosexuals (or countenanced the breaking) with very minimal complaint.

[54] Posted by Catholic Mom on 03-10-2007 at 09:31 AM • top

She was on the phone asking about the church. I could tell she did not know much about faith or religion. after some conversation, I said the best way to find out about us is to come on Sunday. She said you should know something I am gay. I said I don’t care. then she started weeping, no one had ever invited her before knowing she was gay.
Kennedy’s responce is as evil as anything I know of.
it is a wonder that gay people still try to find faith considering the treatment they get at the altar.

[55] Posted by lwrh on 03-10-2007 at 09:34 AM • top

Bill,

Know full well that the display is intended to provoke the response that I suggest above. However, that does not give me liscense as a minister of the gospel to allow or permit sacrilege which, despite the reading the Exhortation, I would be doing. To my mind this would be like Pilate washing his hands and giving Christ over to those who would abuse him (to the great harm of those commiting and witnessing the abuse). I cannot and will not do that and then feign ignorance.

This is the Body of Christ and his Blood that we are talking about as I am sure you know. Despite the obvious political aims of the protestors I cannot hand over the Body for abuse.

[56] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 09:37 AM • top

Actually, Matt and Bill, taomikael has generally posted comments in a reasonable way. He is not a troll.

Your proposed response, though, Matt, I find very troubling indeed. I understand that some people would view the wearing of rainbows to be “political.” But I would also suggest that Jesus’ clearing of the Temple was political. Wilberforce’s Christian conviction led him to political action. Martin Luther King Jr’s brilliant leadership was Christian and political. Christian witness is often political. Self-identification as LGBT or LGBT-supportive, then, yes, is political but (one hopes) based on one’s Christian faith—but it might also serve to remind the rest of the congregation who “we” are: Faithful servants of our Lord in the Church. Putting a face on “the other” can open new opportunities to see the Christ.

Before going further, let me state upfront (for any who haven’t figured it out) that I do not view sexual intimacy within the bonds of my faithful, monogamous, and lifelong commitment to my partner as sinful. However, I’d like to briefly address the issue of excommunication.

Matt, using your rightful authority as priest to deny the Body and Blood of Christ is something that must be taken very, very seriously (and I have no doubt that you do take it seriously, but I am concerned that others may take your example without the depth of your own conviction—as a “political” statement of their own) and with a great deal of thought and prayer. I would also spend some heavy time with my spiritual director, my confessor, and my bishop before undertaking any form of excommunication. Please believe that I am not inferring that you have not done this—but, again, I am concerned that others may follow your lead without your full reflection.

I wish my parish were closer—I’d invite the rainbow wearers—LGBT, LGBT-friendly, Cursillistas and Cursillistos, and anyone else who simply thinks that rainbows are a beautiful sign of God’s covenant with all humankind. In my own parish: I’m encouraging Easter bonnets! (A tradition sadly out of date…)

[57] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 09:38 AM • top

lwrh,

Any person, Gay or Straight, is absolutely welcome to come. But all baptised and confessing Christians are expected to repent of their sins before approaching the table (might want to pick up 1st Corinthians 10-11 here). So if someone tells me that they want to come to the table but refuse to acknowledge that their adultery is a a sin and further plan to promote it to others, then no, giving or taking communion in that condition, would cause great harm to the soul of the unrepentant. I will not do it.

[58] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 09:43 AM • top

lwrh,

There is a world of difference in ‘being gay’ and acting out that gay lifestyle.  I truly believe that all of us would encourage those who are ‘being’ gay, yet we have the admonition, as ministers of the Gospel of Christ, to restrict those who insist on ‘acting’ gay, particularly while in service.

[59] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-10-2007 at 09:51 AM • top

Padre Wayne,

I am sure you do find it troubling. This is not “Jesus clearing the temple.” This is open, willful and defiant rebellion against the Word of God and so far as I have breath in my body, no one will publicly mock God and then saunter up to the rail and abuse his body so long as I am pastor of my flock. You find that troubling. I understand.

I do sincerely hope that others do not do this abusively. But I think the greater error of late is that the Church has begun to minimize the power and danger of the Body and Blood. We come to the Table as if we are entitled to the feast. We are not. Our place at the table has been won by the suffering and blood of the very Son of God. How dare we presume upon his suffering by brazenly and blithely dismissing his commands.

[60] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 10:01 AM • top

amen chip

[61] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 10:02 AM • top

Matt,

I am not ordained, so have not given this the prayful thought that you have, but I have a suggestion.

Deal with this now, if you feel that it will really happen.  Either in the bulletin or the appropriate time during services, let your congregation know what the protest is and what your response to the protest will be. 

I don’t think that it will cause more people to join the protest, but it will let everyone know what will happen.  It will be in the light.  Not to diminish the seriousness of it at all, but then you can reduce the whole thing to “And now this is point in the service where, as I said, I’d like to meet in the anteroom with all of the rainbow people and their supporters”  Everyone would know what was going on, there wouldn’t be gossip leading up to Easter about what would happen.

Everyone would basically “know their part” and everyone could respectfully conduct themselves.

[62] Posted by Paul B on 03-10-2007 at 10:03 AM • top

Paul,

Thanks and I agree with what you say here:

“Deal with this now, if you feel that it will really happen.  Either in the bulletin or the appropriate time during services, let your congregation know what the protest is and what your response to the protest will be. “

My congregation has taken a public, strong and united position on this issue. And of course I do indeed plan on making the proceedure above abundantly clear.

[63] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 10:11 AM • top

Leave the so-called “Gay” activists to account to their God as we must account to ours. Ignore their performance.Attention only encourages.

[64] Posted by dawg on 03-10-2007 at 10:15 AM • top

Dawg, as I noted in my response to Bill above, such a response would be a dangerous abrogation of pastoral duty.

[65] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 10:32 AM • top

Matt, what a remarkable comment on the Eucharist (11:01a).  Thanks for that.

[66] Posted by Phil on 03-10-2007 at 10:32 AM • top

Matt, I agree with you on one thing: the power (and “danger,” as it were) of the Body and Blood of Christ. What happens (or at least what I perceive as happening) at the moment of epiklesis (or at another moment, should I not refrain from directing the minutae of the work of the Holy Spirit?) is powerful. Explosive! We should wear hard hats! And it is likely that far too many of us forget that power—as well as the grace imparted thereby.

What troubles me is “This is open, willful and defiant rebellion against the Word of God…” The <i>Word</i> is Jesus Christ. The word, I assume, is Holy scripture. I do not believe that rainbow-wearers are engaging in “open, willful and defiant rebellion” against our Lord. Actually, I do not believe that rainbow-wearers are engaging in “open, willful and defiant rebellion” against Holy Scripture. What the rainbow-wearers are <i>proclaiming</i> is the Good News of God in Christ: That we are loved, and that faithful, monogamous, lifelong partnerships are to be honored. Blessed even. Now that, of course, will not sit comfortably with your interpretation of Scripture, and perhaps you and I will never be in agreement.

But know this: As a colleague (and brother in Christ) I wish you well and I pray that your ministry may be blessed.

[67] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 10:36 AM • top

(Yikes…comment above garbled in transmission) What the rainbow-wearers are proclaiming is the radical love of God: That our faithful, monogamous, lifelong relationships are to be honored, not denigrated, and that by the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus we have been made “worthy to stand before” God (Prayer B) and worthy guests at the banquet. Of course, this will not coincide with your interpretation of Scripture, and I suspect we may never come to agreement on that.

[68] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 10:43 AM • top

PadreWayne:

I appreciate your point about politics. But to be true to history it must be said that Wilburforce and King’s faith informed their politics, which is rightly ordered. Their political actions were firmly grounded in values clearly supported by the whole of Scripture. IMHO this current political movement within TEC for full inclusion of the LGBT aggenda has very little in common with either the Abolition or Civil Rights movement, in that it seems to be politics informing faith. If Jesus had cleared the Temple because the money-changers didn’t have the proper permits instead of on scriptural grounds then your analogy would hold.

Meanwhile, I’ll look forward to meeting you in the Kingdom!

Nowell

[69] Posted by Nowellco on 03-10-2007 at 10:49 AM • top

Padre Wayne,

No we will likely not agree, but I do appreciate your willingness to discuss/debate. Aside from the obvious passages we might argue over, I am just dumbfounded by the sheer inappropriateness of this protest. It seems as though the Rainbow warriors are going out of their way to cause offense. Why do this on this day? Even if we cannot agree on the clear witness of the scriptures with regard to the behavior itself, certainly we can agree that the NT (see Romans 14 and 1st Corinthians 10-11 especially) frowns on offensive gestures of this sort. Why do this on Easter and why during worship?

[70] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 10:52 AM • top

Well, if it adds any smidgen to my credibility with you, I am not fully convinced that this particular action is appropriate in time and place. Mind you, I don’t quite think it is inappropriate, I’m just not convinced one way or the other.

OK OK color me ambivalent. grin

Blessings, Matt.

And Nowell, somewhat valid points. Except that MLKJr did, indeed (as did others) use the pulpit to proclaim God’s love for all. Including people of color. (I’m not sure that Wilberforce ever preached—since he was not ordained, at that time it probably wasn’t possible—but surely there were clergy who did preach both for and against abolition.) My point about Jesus clearing the Temple was that it was a political act (defying the political structure), took place in sacred grounds, and was informed by his faith.

[71] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 11:22 AM • top

We don’t need to go back to Wilberforce to find a great analogy here.  On the Sunday following publication of MLKing’s “Letter from the Birmingham jail” a city wide “sit-in” of white churches at “the most segregated hour of the week” happened.  There were churches with substantial “shock and awe” protection and there were churches with nothing but the usual “welcome ladies.”  There were a few churches where the pastor had carefully been educating, preaching, exhorting his flock for weeks about civil rights (and in many cases watching his flock evaporate).  There was violence—and press—at the schock and awe sites, frigidity at the welcoming ones, and rejoicing where there had been education.  Of course it was a flash in the pan and today 11AM Sunday continues to be the most segregated hour of the week, with few exceptions.

From this we can conclude: 1.  Teach and preach, it works especially in the long run and you cannot do it enough, 2.  God will solve this problem of ours when it’s time.

[72] Posted by terebinth on 03-10-2007 at 11:42 AM • top

Matt, a provocative post, and one that has caused me to re-evaluate my position. I am a conservative priest, in a varied parish and I would be very reluctant to follow the course of action you advocate. I understand why you counsel what you do, however, there is a danger here, and that is that one can presume to know the hearts of others on the basis of their dress or politics. Withholding of communion is to be only countananced in the case of notorious sinners causing punlic scandal. Can we honestly say that all who will be wearing rainbow colours will be in that situation, some will not be gay, some will not be sexually active. This demonstration is meant to be a statement that LGBT folk are in the midst of the church, and many will support it for a plurality of reasons. It is but a short step from withholding communion because the scriptures are against ones lifestyle, to withholding communion because the Scriptures are against ones theology, and are you ready to do that? If so, where do we stop?

[73] Posted by Anselmic on 03-10-2007 at 11:48 AM • top

This discussion is quite interesting and I found Matt’s plan of action to be sound.  I doubt that the REC parish where I minister will have to face “Rainbow Warriors” on Easter Sunday but one never knows!

The co-opting of the Rainbow, used by God as a covenental sign of redemption, by the homosexual movement is unfortunate indeed and has always struck me as perverse.  While I have never been on a Cursillio and didn’t wear rainbow suspenders when I was 8 years old and they had been made popular by Mork from Ork (simply not my style!), it is unfortunate that they have now taken on a very different meaning!

Back in 1978 the Rev. Dr. Charles McIlhenny, Pastor of the First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Francisco (and a graduate of Reformed Episcopal Seminary) and his Session made the decision to terminate the employment of their organist because the man was a practicing homosexual.  As a result, the church was firebombed and the congregation and McIlhenny family had to face threats and intimidation.  You can read more about his experiences in When the Wicked Seize a City.  Taking a stand for the truth is rarely easy, but it’s what our Lord requires.

[74] Posted by Drew on 03-10-2007 at 12:07 PM • top

Matt is absolutely right in insisting that the Lord’s Table be fenced against evil-doers, and those who turn the Mass (Easter Day or any other time) into a political demonstration for immoral behavior certainly fall into that category.  The only issue is the mechanics of so doing in a manner least disruptive and harmful to the spirituality of the faithful.
Matt’s strategy is fine with me.  But here’s how I would do it.
(1)  If I had any advance warning, or even a suspicion of a gay invasion, I would notify the entire Vestry of the situation and tell them my plans.  I would then call the Clay County Sheriff’s Department and ask for an off-duty officer to position himself at the front door, giving anyone in a funny sash or other gay accoutrements the opportunity to leave peaceably.  Those refusing would be arrested for trespassing and prosecuted.  As any number of RC chuches have experienced, these people can be quite disruptive even before the sacrament is distributed.  The name of the game is to head them off at the pass (the church steps or parking lot).
(2)  If I had no advance warning, the lay-reader would be dispatched to call 911 to have them removed.  If they make it to the rail (doubtful), I would simply ignore their presence at the rail, just walking on by.  The chalice-bearer would be prompted to follow my cue.

I suspect that churches and jurisdictions which have clear-cut and well-known positions are less likely to have this problem than orthodox parishes still affiliated with apostate dioceses.  But I do recall a couple of creepy visitors from the local ECUSA cathedral who huffed out in the middle of my sermon.

[75] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 03-10-2007 at 12:08 PM • top

Anslemic,

you said:

“Can we honestly say that all who will be wearing rainbow colours will be in that situation, some will not be gay, some will not be sexually active.”

If you look in my article I listed two categories of those who will be wearing the insignia:

“Those wearing a rainbow sash or insignia publicly declare that: 1. they unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church and/or 2. that they are themselves willfully and unrepentantly engaging in homosexual sex.”

I actiually think that those in 1. are in worse sin than those in 2.

Those in 1 are the ones to whom Jesus applies the millstone. They support and facilitate the spiritual death of others.

I agree that not all are consciously rebelling but communing them merely confirms their blindness and at the deepest possible level affirms them in their sin. This, to my mind, would be a horrible thing for a minister of the gospel to do.

[76] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 12:09 PM • top

Terebinth, an excellent analogy (and appropriate, IMHO, in that Holy Scripture had been used to fight integration, miscegenation, and civil rights).
Anselmic, also good. If I were shuttled to the side apse because of a rainbow whatever, would it not b e necessary to have me *specifically* state which so-called sin I was or was not willing to repent? Is Fr. Matthew willing to stand before each of us and demand repentence of the sins he feels we are committing because of his interpretation of Scripture? Is he willing to take aside divorced-and-remarried folks and demand that before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord they cast aside their second spouse thereby repenting of [Scripture-named] adultery?

Surely there are some sins which are so obviously in need or repentence. I remain unconvinced that the physical expression of love and desire within a faithful, monogamous, lifelong same-gendered relationship is one of them. Moreover, in many places it hardly causes public scandal. (That alone does not make it right—but it is something to consider according to rubric.)

[77] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 12:10 PM • top

I just had to borrow this from ‘Bill, not IB’ over on MCJ:

And on-topic, think about this. What do you suppose the people at Integrity, Episcopal Majority, and the like would do if the members of AMiA and CANA were to suggest that all orthodox/traditional believers wear a black armband to church on Christmas Day, to mourn for the death of “The Faith as Received from the Apostles.” Would they be tolerant, loving, and supportive of people (especially those they loathe   disagree with) being able to express themselves for a particular cause on a Holy Day?

What better way to get out the orthodox/traditional message?  I have already suggested wearing cassock, surplice and black preaching tippet on Easter, perhaps this does it one better.

[78] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-10-2007 at 12:16 PM • top

Wow, Laurence, your draconian measures would certainly repel the majority of my own parishioners (whether they were GLBT or not). Our sign says “All are welcome.” Yours obviously does not. It is certainly within the authority of a priest to refuse Communion—but to refuse entry would preclude the possibility of hearing the word of Scripture and sermon as you proclaim it, would it not?

I must say—this conversation is lively, interesting, and thought-provoking, and is truly engaging my heart and mind. It is an issue we think of too rarely, I suspect.

[79] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 12:18 PM • top

Padre Wayne,

I suppose you did not read my response to a similar question re: divorce above?

[80] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 12:19 PM • top

Chip, that’s a very interesting question.
a) I would certainly not refuse them Communion (i.e., I wouldn’t refuse them because of what their armband represents)
b) What an opportunity for prayerful conversation! Who knows? Perhaps there might be some healing within congregations that are split on the issues? (As I said earlier, putting a face on “the other” is very helpful indeed.)

[81] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 12:21 PM • top

Mr. Kennedy,

This is a warning. Your last comment compared people you disagree with to those who gassed 6 million Jews. A more demeaning and insulting, not to mention false comparison is difficult to imagine. You are welcome to participate on this board. But when your vigorous argument which is welcome is replaced by insult then your time here will be at an end.  There will not be another warning.


A few years ago, I took a bunch of quotes from the 1930’s and added them into a collection of some contemporary pieces.  I then changed one three-letter word for another throughout all the quotes and invited readers to identify the era for each separate quote.  None of them could do it; there was no difference to detect.  The point I made was that propaganda techniques know no owners, they simply are weapons that will fit any hand willing to pick them up.
Are you really claiming that there is no one in the reasserter camp that ever makes use of any propaganda techniques?  That such never appear on this board and those like it?  I think that I could make a very good case to the contrary.
I don’t know about you, but if a good selection of quotes of speakers for a position that I favored could be instantly re-purposed to become something favoring a position I oppose by the substitution of a single word, that would be grounds for an immediate and serious examination.  By their works, you will know them.

[82] Posted by taomikael on 03-10-2007 at 12:22 PM • top

Matt, at 08:43 you wrote, “So if someone tells me that they want to come to the table but refuse to acknowledge that their adultery is a a sin and further plan to promote it to others, then no, giving or taking communion in that condition, would cause great harm to the soul of the unrepentant. I will not do it.”
Therefore: John Doe divorced Jane. John married Mary while Jane was still living. John has therefore (according to Scripture) committed adultery (is continuing to commit it). His marriage to Mary, as far as you know, is faithful, monogamous, and as far as you can predict, will be lifelong. He makes the casual statement, “It was the right thing to do (his divorce and remarriage),” which could be seen, if we’re going to be extremely literal, as promoting adultery. You will, therefore, refuse John Communion.

And you will, thereby, assume that there is no possibility of grace until John renounces Mary as his wife.

Am I correct in this progression?

[83] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 12:31 PM • top

Tao asks

What are the “reasserters” going to do to distinguish themselves when they no longer have the dread enemy of the sinister “Protocols of the Gay Elders” to oppose?

Given that Jesus nicely prioritized everything for us in the Summary of the Law, I guess we’ll just have to go back to the usual praise, worship, repentance, and renewal, while every now and then taking a break by clothing the hungry, feeding the sick, and comforting the poor.  Umm, just a minute, no, where’s that verse again?  ...

[84] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 03-10-2007 at 12:33 PM • top

Padre Wayne,

The comment was at 3:49 in response to Taomikael.

As far as divorce without cause it is a grievious sin. If someone were to publicly deny its sinfulness and promote it, I would certainly take the same action.

[85] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 12:37 PM • top

Rev. Keaton has posted a letter to the HOBD from Bishop Duncan to the ACN clergy.  Recipients are requested not to post the letter until after next weekend.  No comments have been posted to the HOBD site since Ms. Keaton posted the letter on that site.  I am unable to log on to her site.  There have been no comments about this matter by any bloggers.  Anyone know whats going on?

[86] Posted by richardc on 03-10-2007 at 12:51 PM • top

richardc,

When that came up yesterday afternoon, I immediately phoned the ACN offices (shortly after 5 et) and posted an e-mail to them as well.  Looks like someone on the Network network is a mole for Integrity, huh?

[87] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-10-2007 at 01:06 PM • top

richardc,

Episcopal Majority has a copy up too.  I imagine this will be making the rounds.

[88] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 03-10-2007 at 01:13 PM • top

Christopher,
I think the issue is probably more likely that the document was circulated within the wider Camp Allen circle.  Still, I am puzzled by the general silence on this issue.  A few progressive blogs as you note have posted the letter but even on their sites the commentary is nearly non-existent.  Here, there’s been no mention despite the fact that the cat has been let out of the bag.  I’m curious as to the time release restrictions.  The letter clearly is stating that we are going thru the necessary motions and formalities until Sept 30, convinced that TEC has opted to walk away.  This has been obvious to many of us but clearly, it has not been so clearly articulated by either side. 

It seems to me to be a significant statement, one which will probably received lots of analysis within the reasserting camp after it is publically released by ACN.  I think now that the cat’s out of the bag, we should confront it head on.

[89] Posted by richardc on 03-10-2007 at 01:32 PM • top

Babyblue has posted the letter.

[90] Posted by richardc on 03-10-2007 at 01:35 PM • top

It is a letter with absolutely nothing shocking, just Duncan explaining that he will work with the Communique scheme to the extent that it can make for unity and reconciliation without compromise of the apostolic faith. 
Nothing new there…except at the Episcopal Majority site where they have some lame cartoon about “you have to obey the law to be a citizen.”  But, TEC progressives always say they are prophetic, led by the Spirit, more gracious or some other thing that allows them to ignore “laws.”
The Rainbow demonstration is a good case in point.  It flies in the face of the BCP marriage rite and, as Matt is pointing out, the Eucharistic disciplinary rubrics.

[91] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 03-10-2007 at 01:38 PM • top

Is this the same Pastoral letter posted on the the ACN website?

[92] Posted by paddy on 03-10-2007 at 01:44 PM • top

Timothy,
It may not be shocking but there is clearly an important reason why the receipients were requested not to post the letter anywhere on the web until after Monday.

[93] Posted by richardc on 03-10-2007 at 01:45 PM • top

Most Pastoral letters come with a date for distribution, including all of TEC’s “Word to the Church” stuff…desiring the message to come first in the context of a liturgy rather than via blog dissection seems pretty normal.  The timing seems pretty generous…days and days to discuss it prior to the upcoming HOB thing.  I’m just not seeing anything all that unusual in the timing or the content.

[94] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 03-10-2007 at 01:48 PM • top

No Paddy,  it is not.  you can checkout babyblue’s abridged version or Keaton’s unabridged version at
http://telling-secrets.blogspot.com

[95] Posted by richardc on 03-10-2007 at 01:52 PM • top

As far as divorce without cause it is a grievious sin. If someone were to publicly deny its sinfulness and promote it, I would certainly take the same action.

But they can receive communion as long as they DON’T publically deny its sinfulness?  Seems to me that requirement for excommunication is pretty much a free pass for open adultery without any consequences.  If I dump my spouse and live in open adultery (via a second “marriage”) with my lover, I won’t be refused communion in your church, unless I also go around promoting this as a lifestyle?  So far I’ve never heard ANYONE promote divorce as a lifestyle (although I don’t doubt that somewhere someone is.)  The Catholic teaching on this is clear—when you are in open unrepentent sin, you cannot receive communion until you repent of your sin.  You may remember that Jaqueline Kennedy, good friend of cardinals and popes, was excommunicated for the period of time she was married to Onassis.  The governer of my state was excommunicated.  As far as I know, these folks didn’t go around “promoting” the divorced “lifestyle.”  Why is it that open adulterers in your church are admitted to communion?

I know I’m harping on this but the “orthodox” Anglicans lose a tremendous amount of credibility with me by the slack they cut misbehaving heterosexuals vs. misbehaving homosexuals.  Maybe because they can picture themselves in the first category but not the second.  When you’ve taken the plank out of your own eye you’ll see even better how to deal with the eyesight problems of others.

[96] Posted by Catholic Mom on 03-10-2007 at 01:54 PM • top

William Witt, thank you for your good suggestions on preaching Easter Day with rainbow warriors in the congregation.  I have been praying and reflecting on the best approach to such an egregious act against Christ and His Church on Easter Day, and your suggestions are helpful in this regard.  It really is amazing to me that people who say they are Christians would promote a political protest like this on Easter Day.

[97] Posted by TonyinCNY on 03-10-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

My apologies,read it at Baby Blue’s and thought I read it at ACN.
Also read it at Rev Ms Kaeton’s,had to cut through the love letters to Mad Priest though.

[98] Posted by paddy on 03-10-2007 at 02:08 PM • top

Catholic Mom, not only are you harping but you are reading waay too much into my responses.

Again, see my post above. I have already denied communion to someone for divorce without cause.

I am not Roman Catholic, so I do believe there are two valid reasons for divorce: adultery and abandonment of a non-believing spouse.

I am not sure, biblically, whether there is warrant for remarriage when a valid divorce has taken place. It depends on what Paul means in 1st Cor 7 when he says that the believing spouse is “free”. What exactly does that freedom entail.

Divorce is a great sin, but biblically speaking there are two valid reasons for it.

The divorcees in my parish, the new converts and mature believers, are heartily sorry for their misdoings in this regard and know full well that it is a sin. None, to my knowledge think it is good.

Here is a sermon I preached on the topic:
http://www.anglicantv.org/blog/index.cfm/2006/10/9/Sermon-Fr-Matt-Kennedy

[99] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 02:13 PM • top

The divorcees in my parish, the new converts and mature believers, are heartily sorry for their misdoings in this regard and know full well that it is a sin. None, to my knowledge think it is good

I enjoyed the homily and I even learned something from it!

That said, I’m finding it harder to pin you down on this than it is to get a clear answer from KJS.

Yes, you said if someone were living in open adultery you would refuse them communion.  Yes, you said that if someone said that divorce were good (“promoting” it) you would refuse them communion.  Yes, you listed two possible “valid” reasons for divorce.

But the question is very straightforward.  IF someone in your parish were (for example) married to a person who had NOT validly obtained a divorce (e.g., a woman marries a man who has left his wife because they’re not “getting along.”)  REGARDLESS of how “bad” or “repentent” or anything else they felt about it, would you let them receive communion while still living together in a sexual relationship??  I would think this would be a pretty much “yes” or “no” answer.  If the answer is “no” then I heartily apologize for my obtuseness in not understand this from your previous posts.  If the answer is “yes” then my concern about a dual standard remains.

[100] Posted by Catholic Mom on 03-10-2007 at 02:37 PM • top

Argg,
Catholic mom, I have answered this no several times now and provided an example of where I have acted that no out.

[101] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 02:40 PM • top

Matt:  I appreciate your clear statement of doctrine vis a vis the Eucharist.  I was brought up in LCMS.  We only received communion once a month, and were expected to be there.  I was in awe of the power and danger of the sacrament, and prepared myself diligently prior to receiving.  If I thought that I was not prepared or not worthy, I did not go to the rail.  When visiting another Lutheran church on communion Sunday, I always spoke to the pastor beforehand.  Many a Lutheran pastor has skipped people he did not recognize while distributing communion.  I am thankful for that grounding I received at my mother’s knee, and in confirmation classes.  Some of my fellow parishioners just can’t understand why several of the Primates refused to take communion with +KJS.  I waxed eloquent in defense of their stand, and at least one came to me the next week, indicating that she had taken the opportunity to think about what I had said.  I think we in the pews have been allowed to ignore the reality of the power and awefulness of the Eucharist, and just go through the motions.  Eliminating the Prayer of Humble Access from rite II was a terrible mistake, in my mind.  In all the conflict and disagreement in the AC, I still reach back to my Reformation roots, the Articles of Faith, and the good religious education I had growing up.  I just wish there were more solid priests like you in this Episcopal church, instead of so many conciliatory, wishy-washy clerics.  I long for preaching that calls out truth,  instead of “Christianity light” and “cheap grace”.  As Bonhoffer pointed out, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him climb up on the cross.”  Good sound preaching and teaching seem to have become too rare in the EC these last several years.  Thank you and people like you and Will Witt and other posters here for your solid faith and teaching.
Charles

[102] Posted by El Jefe on 03-10-2007 at 02:44 PM • top

My hesitancy comes from probably a different source than you suspect…what to do with new converts who have “married” several times and “divorced” several times without cause.

This new convert and his current spouse come, hear the word of God and convert. I do not think and am not persuaded that the biblical warrant requires this new convert to divorce his current “wife” and seek reconciliation with his first wife. I think that simply confounds the sin.

I am ready to be persuaded by scripture in this regard, but not on this thread. We are far off topic. So please do drop it until a thread specifically dealing with this issue arises. Or you may continue the conversation privately by email.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

[103] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

Matt+, I am in full agreement with you on your last post re new converts.  Early on in my ordained ministry I ran head on into this problem over and over again as new people came into the parish after having been witnessed to by members.  In those days, if a divorced and remarried person or couple came seeking to be baptized and/or confirmed, I would have to get the bishop’s written permission first after sending him all the records, etc, surrounding the divorces.  I really felt the Church was in the wrong on trying to hold people accountable to Biblical standards before they had even known what those standards were!  I’m glad the requirements, at least in my diocese, were changed in favor of giving people the benefit of the doubt.

[104] Posted by David+ on 03-10-2007 at 03:24 PM • top

Know full well that the display is intended to provoke the response that I suggest above. However, that does not give me liscense as a minister of the gospel to allow or permit sacrilege which, despite the reading the Exhortation, I would be doing.

Matt,  I wasn’t chastising you, or necessarily even disagreeing with you.  By focusing on the content of the sermon, I was suggesting one possible way not to play into the hands of our opponents.  Nor was I suggesting you take the sacrament lightly.  I did suggest using the sermon as a teaching moment to disarm your opponents.  There are unwritten rules about the roles we all are supposed to play in these kinds of situations.  Sometimes not playing the expected role can have unexpected results.  This would also be a unique opportunity for you to present the gospel to those who might otherwise not hear it.

If, after having taken such an approach, a person or group of persons clearly identifying themselves by wearing rainbow sashes approached the communion rail, and I were in your place, I would likely not give them communion either.  However if such a person were to approach the rail, and they were not clearly identifying themselves (say by the wearing of a sash) I would likely give him or her the sacrament.  I don’t think I would worry too much about the question of sacrilege if an unworthy recipient were to receive.  Christ’s body has already been crucified once.  He is able and willing to take whatever abuse we want to fling at him.

[105] Posted by William Witt on 03-10-2007 at 03:38 PM • top

William - It is not only the question of sacrilege.  It is also the protection of the person unworthily receiving Communion - that they do not receive it to their harm (1 Cor 11:27-30).

[106] Posted by Harry Edmon on 03-10-2007 at 04:00 PM • top

Thanks Bill, you make good points.

I maintain my position with regard to sacrilege though (along with Harry’s point above). Yes, Christ’s Body is able to take abuse, but that does not mean that his ministers ought rightly to knowingly take part in it.

There is probably no one in my congregation who would do this. My concern is a militant group of rainbow warriors from elsewhere coming to make a scene. In such a case I would expect hardened hearts, but I would certainly preach as best I can and pray that God soften them.

[107] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 04:09 PM • top

Even though it would risk a scene at the altar an orthodox priest would have no choice but to refuse the Sacrament to those wearing their “rainbow sash.” They are plainly either living in disregard to the plain teachings of Scripture or supporting those who do. Either way they are flagrantly disregarding the plain teachings of Scripture and 2000 years of Christian tradition. If faced with the same thing in my small humble parish I too would refuse to communicate them, until they removed their sashes and showed signs of true repentance.

[108] Posted by FrRick on 03-10-2007 at 04:52 PM • top

It’s a tough call and also one of the reasons I’m glad I’m not clergy.  It IS true that everyone at the rail is a sinner, but overtly flaunting the sin is another story. 

A similar one from my college days—Couple A and Couple B are prominent members of an Episcopal church.  Both have at least 2 kids apiece in this picture.  Husband of Couple A and Wife of Couple B start having a torrid affair with one another.  The opposite husband and wife are left trying to pick up the pieces for the kids.  The torrid affair decides to continue going to church, holding hands and engaging in all sorts of PDA.  The parish is torn, but the majority of the sympathy(rightfully) rests with the deceived husband and wife.  The rector tells the wayward spouses to cut the display, go home, and attempt to save both marriages.  Instead, they continue their performance, regularly in the sanctuary on Sunday, and the rector has enough and excommunicates them pending resolution of an outcome(the bishop was made aware of this). 

The wronged wife did eventually sue for divorce with adultery as the reason, and subsequently married another man who understood the meaning of a life vow.  I don’t know what happened to the rest of them, but I don’t think the adulterous couple ended up together.  The wronged wife did an excellent job with her kids; I can only pray the other kids wound up at least semi-all right. 

Here, the rector did entirely the right thing, and eventually became a Network bishop. 

Sin is sin and desires are desires but I never cease to be amazed how some don’t even hesitate to weave a more tangled web than needed.  In my view, not only does it violate Scriptural standards, it causes too much pain for the children involved and makes life way more complicated than I would ever want it to be.  The only advice I could ever submit is to follow the Lord as best you can, pray, and attempt thinking with what’s above your neck as opposed to what’s below your waist. 

God bless—

J.

[109] Posted by Orthoducky on 03-10-2007 at 05:12 PM • top

Matt:
This is a real question, not intended to be snotty or condescending.  It is clear from your comments here and elsewhere what you think about homosexuality and about gay and lesbian people.  Given your opinions and beliefs, how are you engaging in the the work to which the bishops of the Anglican Communion committed themselves at Lambeth 1998 in 1.10.3 (work which has been affirmed by the Windsor Report and by the Primates at least twice since 1998)

1.10.3 “we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons” and “assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ”

How are you engaging in this listening process personally and how are you leading your congregation through it?  I believe you consider yourself to be a “Windsor” Episcopalian.  I do not hear much from those who say they are affirming Windsor about how they are “listening to the experience of homosexual personss.
Thanks for your consideration of these thoughts.

[110] Posted by bwd on 03-10-2007 at 05:27 PM • top

“Our sign says “All are welcome.” Yours obviously does not.”

You’re quite right.  Our sign says “The Anglican Church invites you.”
A nuanced statement, quite different from “The Episcopal Church welcomes you.”  The invitation is intended for “ye who do truly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in his holy ways.” Have you ever grasped the exclusionary import of those words??  We have no truck with the mushy sentimentalism of “y’all come, just as you are.”  Those who make it plain, by wearing silly sashes, that they do NOT repent and do NOT intend to lead a new life, we woud refer to the ECUSA church up the street, where they will surely feel more at home.  The good news preached by Jesus began, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the Gospel.”  No silly claptrap about “welcome” or “acceptance” there.

[111] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 03-10-2007 at 05:47 PM • top

bwd - May I ask why you assume that Matt does not like homosexual persons?  I have read about everything he has written on Stand Firm and cannot remember even one word where he makes such a statement or even intimates such a thing.  Do you believe this because he takes a firm stand against homosexual activity? 
Listening does not require the affirmation of a lifestyle.  It requires the ears and heart.  Matt’s commitment to Biblical standards is confirmation that his heart is fullly engaged in love for his brothers and sisters, regardless of their sin.  Read Matt’s work.  Unrepentent is the key word.

[112] Posted by JackieB on 03-10-2007 at 06:27 PM • top

I have a question for bwd - will anyone on the reasserting side accept it if “listening” doesn’t result in full affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle? If not, isn’t “listening” a euphemism?

[113] Posted by oscewicee on 03-10-2007 at 07:16 PM • top

Jackie: while we wait for Matt+s reply please take care to note that bwd did not use “like…” he used “think about…” homosexuality, etc.  It is not a small difference.  Reason differs greatly from emotion here.  I expect Matt+ will provide a careful, reasoned answer,  leaving emotions for the skimmers; it is a deep issue, skimming won’t cut it.  The GLBT community uses confrontation, the church offers communion and we have a train wreck.  Communion is more powerfull…

[114] Posted by terebinth on 03-10-2007 at 07:27 PM • top

I think Matt is probably involved in dinner with his family and then bedtime for his children, and then tommorrow is Sunday, a busy day. Perhaps he will be up at 4am and have a moment to address this, but perhaps not. 

bwd, “listening” is one thing.  But what you mean by this is that the expressed feelings of some gay people( -that God made them that way, that there is no other way they could be, that their faithful and loving homosexual relationships are in many ways just like heterosexual relationships, that they are normal, ordinary people who shop, cook, do laundry, etc etc)  should somehow affect or change Matt’s beliefs or the beliefs of the other Christians who write here.  I think most people who write here would say that their beliefs on this subject are based on Scripture, which is the word of God, and that therefore someone’s testimony as to his or her experience has no power to change those beliefs.  People can say all sorts of things about how they feel and their experiences.  That is only a very relative and tentative and possible source of truth.  God’s word, I am sure the people here would say, is an absolute source of truth.  I myself, as a Catholic, would add that the teaching of the Church, the constant witness of Christian tradition, and reason in the form of natural law theology,  all confirm what Scripture says about this subject.  I’ll be honest and admit that there are times when I wish I could say that gay people are just another kind of people who are fine the way they are, and that at least some of their relationships are healthy.  I am personally inclined in many instances to FEEL this way about them and just accept them that way.  In fact, practically speaking, I do this, for instance, with people at work, people in my extended family.  But my basic worldview, my fundamental beliefs, will not let me exalt this feeling into a truth.  I believe God made men and women fundamentally and essentially different, and made them to be complimentary to each other. I believe that sexual union is primarily ordered to the creation of new human beings, and that marriage is for the purpose of bringing new human beings into the world and nurturing them,  and secondarily for the two people involved to love and support each other,  in that nurturing and otherwise.  I don’t think that how two men or two women FEEL about their sexual relationship and their commitment to each other makes that commitment a marriage.  I don’t think what a marriage is is something which has been defined by human beings or can be redefined by human beings.  Sure, there are cultural and social aspects of it which can change and which have changed, but the basic essential meaning of it is not a human or social creation; it is part of God’s creation. 

If by listening to the experiences of “homosexual persons” -I would prefer to say, of people who experience same sex attraction- the WR means, of their experience of being rejected or despised, sure fine. 
No one should be rejected or despised because of what desires they wound up with.  I don’t reject or despise people even if the desires they wound up with are towards deplorable actions or illegal actions or towards people who would be harmed if they carried out those actions.  Most of us have quite a poupourri of desires.  Even the biologically normal ones (of physically sexually mature men and women for each other)  exist in us in a disordered form;  sin leads us to seek our own pleasure as an end in itself, and to use other human beings as a mean to that end.  If God could not love a man who desires other men, He could hardly love any of us, with all of our evil and disordered thoughts and desires, sexual and otherwise.  The body of Christ is entirely made up of people with disordered desires.  So of course “all baptized, believing, and faithful persons regardless of sexual orientation are members of the Body of Christ”  All baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of what desires they have and what sins they are tempted to, are members of the Body of Christ.  But faithful here, if it means anything, means that we are trying with God’s grace to overcome our temptations and conform ourselves to His will. 

Susan Peterson

[115] Posted by eulogos on 03-10-2007 at 07:35 PM • top

Lambeth 1:10 is a communion-wide resolution.  The application of listening process will not be one size fits all.  In some places, there hasn’t been a serious listening process.  But to say that TEC needs one is, IMO, absurd.
I’ve been ordained for close to 20 years now; before that, seminary, and before that, plenty of parish involvement.  During that time, a constant presentation of the LGBT position went on, represented in new language every time it encounted an objection it couldn’t answer, preached from pulpits, “facilitated” in “processes” with predetermined outcomes, acted upon via ordinations and SSUs, made the dominant subject of all bodies up to GC and HOB, etc.
Really, the listening process in TEC’s case needs to flow the other way.  The traditional voice has simply been labled “fundamentalism” or, as I heard from one luminary on the floor of a diocesan convention, “Your (orthodox) position has never existed in our Anglican tradition.”  Huh?
At least the orthodox recognize the presence and humanity of LGBT folks enough to discuss their proper involvement in the church.  That’s one heck of a lot more than an evangelical would receive from most Commissions on Ministry.
As I’ve written before, LGBT people come from a very real sense of shame within and, at least in some generations and places, rejection from without.  Their dominant social model is the perceived safety of an LGBT neighborhood.  It is not a gracious, inclusive model, but a fearful reaction-formation ghetto.  It does not wear well in the church.  It creates a club for the like minded (or, more accurately, “like-emotioned.”)  Thus we proclaim listening and inclusion while we embrace groupspeak and monochrome membership.

[116] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 03-10-2007 at 07:49 PM • top

I might add to Susan’s post that if we are to listen to the stories of homosexuals, then we should listen to those who have cast off the yoke of homosexuality and are living a new life following God’s commandments and walking in his Holy ways. One I know is married, with children, and quite happy. (ZachD on VOL)

[117] Posted by Marlin on 03-10-2007 at 07:53 PM • top

Terebinth,
Thank you for your response.  However, I would challenge you to re-read bwd’s comment:

It is clear from your comments here and elsewhere what you think about homosexuality and about gay and lesbian people.  Given your opinions and beliefs, how are you engaging in the the work to which the bishops of the Anglican Communion committed themselves at Lambeth 1998 in 1.10.3 (work which has been affirmed by the Windsor Report and by the primates at least twice since 1998)

Even rose colored glasses can’t hide the unspoken words.  Don’t misunderstand, Matt is more than capable of speaking for himself (as he has demonstrated time and time again) and I was not presuming to speak for him. Those words were from me based on bwd’s comment.  If he (or she) meant them to imply other than my interpretation, I invite bwd to address me with this information.  bwd may be assured I take the admonitions above the comment section seriously.

[118] Posted by JackieB on 03-10-2007 at 08:12 PM • top

bwd,

Jackie, Susan, and Marlin have covered the basic points I would cover in answer to your question and I will respond more fully tomorrow after church. For now please know that I do not think homosexual people are any different than the rest of humanity. We are all sinners and we all have our particular weaknesses and failings. Thanks be to God that through Christ we may confess our sins, repent and find forgiveness and salvation. My concern is that those who want to bless same sex sexual behavior shut the door on the possibility of repentance and redemption for homosexual people.

But more tomorrow…

[119] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-10-2007 at 08:20 PM • top

Please be careful not to let demonstrators make Easter Sunday all about them.  It should be all about Jesus!
We may be more successful in this battle by following the historic admonition to “hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes”. 
Once any Demonstrator makes the slightest disturbance, they should be made to leave as quickly as possible.
Easter is about Jesus not about them! We, in the congregation, do have the ability to shun these trouble makers and I trust our priest to decide what to do about communion.  It is my prayer that some of the protesters will understand the ritual and sermon and decide they should refrain from interrupting the celebration of the risen Christ.

[120] Posted by Betty See on 03-10-2007 at 09:14 PM • top

I appreciate all the responses to my post.  Certainly it is possible for many people to listen to the same thing and still hear and conclude different things.  We listen differently and we bring our own presuppositions to the conversation. 

I’m just curious about whether an intentional listening process has happened or is happening in the places where you live and work and worship.  In our Diocese and in the congregations I have served, we have been engaged in this kind of a listening process for well over 30 years.  It is precisely because of this listening (not because of caving in to some so-called ‘gay agenda’) that gay and lesbian Christians in this Diocese have been ordained and faithfully serve the congregations to which they are called, and that some clergy and congregations experience the blessing of same sex unions as an occasion of joy and faithfulness.

The listening process in our Diocese involved more than listening to gays and lesbians talk about their lives.  It included study and engagement with the scriptures, as well as with theology, psychology and anthropology.  It involved listening to “ex-gays.” It involved listening to each other, i.e. to people of very different theological and biblical perspectives. 

This kind of listening has led many of us in the church to conclude that homosexuality is morally neutral.  Like heterosexuality it can be the source of great blessing or of great pain.  In our congregation gays and lesbians are partners and parents, choir members and Sunday School teachers, vestry members and Lectors and LEMs.  We are grateful for their presence and for their participation in the life of our little corner of the body of Christ.

Some specific responses:

Jackie:  Terebinth is right.  It’s not about liking or not liking.  My question for Matt is: how does he reconcile his attitude of ‘repent or you can’t come’ with Lambeth 1.10.3:  we assure homosexual persons “that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.”  Full members

But Terebinth:  Confrontation is a tactic—sometimes effective, sometimes not.  I agree with you, the Church offers communion.  The gays and lesbians I know—ordained and lay—are gratefully a part of that communion.  And ‘communion is more powerful.’

Oscewicee:  No, not ‘full affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle.’  But what many of us are arguing for is full acceptance and welcome of homosexual people.

T Fountain:  I agree, a listening process will not be one size fits all.  I’m sure it needs to be different in different places.  I do not agree that just because you feel there has been a “constant presentation of the LGBT position” that there isn’t a need for a listening process in the US.  I’m just asking, is there ANY kind of listening process going on in, say, Nigeria, or the Diocese of Pittsburgh or Fort Worth or San Joaquin? 

I read and understand the scriptures and the church’s teaching in a certain way.  You read and understand them in another way.  I hope we can stay together in the church.  Maybe we can’t, but it’s more interesting together I think.  Working on different language might help.  It would be better if I did not characterize your position as fundamentalist and Neanderthal.  It would be good if you did not characterize mine as heretical and apostate.

I have taken up a lot of space here today.  Thank you.  I’ll pull back.

[121] Posted by bwd on 03-10-2007 at 09:39 PM • top

Betty See said: “Once any Demonstrator makes the slightest disturbance, they should be made to leave as quickly as possible. “

I suspect that those wearing rainbow whatevers do not intend to make any disturbance. They are there to worship as well as to show what they believe. If you are disturbed by their mere presence and their individual and/or collective affirmation of the faith they have, well, Houston, we have a problem.

[122] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 09:47 PM • top

bwd wrote: “The listening process in our Diocese involved more than listening to gays and lesbians talk about their lives.  It included study and engagement with the scriptures, as well as with theology, psychology and anthropology.  It involved listening to “ex-gays.” It involved listening to each other, i.e. to people of very different theological and biblical perspectives.”

Wow, I am truly impressed. Isn’t this what “compliance” with Lambeth 1.10 should be about?

[123] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 09:55 PM • top

And everyone: Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead tonight!
Peace to all. May holy angels watch over you and may you awake refreshed and eager to taste the Bread of Heaven.

[124] Posted by PadreWayne on 03-10-2007 at 09:59 PM • top

bwd - I have a friend who has a wife.  He shares his marriage and his wife with another woman.  They have children (both women) together and all live as one family.  They have no problem with their arrangement and actually are shocked by those who would.  They explain their relationship and their experiences as loving, caring and God inspired.  What say you?

[125] Posted by JackieB on 03-10-2007 at 10:58 PM • top

There seems to be a lot of over-reacting to what’s been proposed for Easter Sunday, referred to as “an LGBT political protest”. What is *actually* being proposed is a “rainbow presence” and as Anselmic has already suggested, the purpose is to be a witness to the fact that LGBT Christians are already present, in every area, of the Episcopal and other churches despite often being invisible and feeling marginalised.  Why Easter Sunday? Because we’re Christians: we’re going to be at church anyway - some have simply decided to wear rainbow buttons and pins (I don’t think there’ll be many “sashes”!). And colourful decorations would not be appropriate during Lent! 

And there won’t be any distrurbance from the LGBT side: as I said, we’re Christians - we believe in the sacramental power of eucharistic worship and wouldn’t play politics with the Mass. But we will be making a theological point: that the Resurrection Promise is for all humankind - includiing the faithful LGBT Christians.

I appreciate that the majority on this site have a different theological understanding of same-sex relationship from those in the Rainbow Presence but I am deeply alarmed at the idea of withholding the sacrament from people whose theology you disapprove of.  Receiving the sacrament, surely, enhances spiritual grace and the process of discernment.

Loge

[126] Posted by Loge on 03-10-2007 at 11:30 PM • top

Padre Wayne:

Putting a face on “the other” can open new opportunities to see the Christ.

Padre, this seems to strongly imply, after years and years of discussion, explanation repeated ad nauseam, lengthy books and articles, and on and on, that this whole controversy is due solely to personal distaste and prejudice.

No.  It is a doctrinal, theological, soteriological dispute which has nothing whatever to do with prejudice.

Some assertions about the universe, material and spiritual, are true.  Others are not true.  Those who believe assertions which are not true are mistaken.  When they undertake to impose the implications of those assertions on those who do not so believe, the latter are entitled to resist.

The question here is what set of assertions are true, and we in the Western intellectual tradition have had several thousand years to develop methods and guidelines for adducing and evaluating evidence to help in judging such questions.

These methods and guidelines have, of course, recently been subject to attack and scorn from the kindergarten Marxists who dominate most of our institutions of higher education.  That does not make them any less useful or valid; the appropriate response to such intellectuals is, like the anecdote recently described by Captain Yips, “Professor Bonehead, rationality is not on trial here.  You are.”

This fatuous use of “the other” is just silly, and implies a psychology and anthropology at odds with both Christianity and the facts of the matter.  Griswold, call your office…

[127] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 03-11-2007 at 12:47 AM • top

Interesting discussion. Would it be possible to turn the tables on the Rainbow folk?  Give the exhortation.  Announce that you are aware of the political protest.  State the Lambeth 1.10 teaching of the church.  Tell the congregation that anyone taking communion announces by that act that if he as ever comitted or advocated for homosexual acts, he now rejects and repents of that sin.  If he is not willing to make that public confession and repentance, ask that he not receive.

[128] Posted by Cousin Vinnie on 03-11-2007 at 01:12 AM • top

bwd:

you asked:

“My question for Matt is: how does he reconcile his attitude of ‘repent or you can’t come’ with Lambeth 1.10.3:  we assure homosexual persons “that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” Full members.”

This the requirement for all people. Being a full member requires repentance. Homosexual people, heterosexual people…all must repent. When it comes specifically to sexuality. Heterosexuals must repent for promiscuous or adulterous thoughts words and/or deeds. For heterosexual singles the biblical standard is celibacy and every college kid in my congregation knows that well. Homoesexuals, in the same way, must repent also for sexual thoughts words or deeds which transgress the biblical standard. Thus, a homosexual person does not need to repent any more than a heterosexual person. But a non-celibate homosexual person certainly does as does a non-celibate single heterosexual or an adulterer in marriage. 

The standard for all people, homosexual or heterosexual is the word of God which, as Jesus says, will be the measure of judgement on the last day.

[129] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-11-2007 at 03:23 AM • top

Loge - it is the withholding of Communion to unrepentant sinners and/or heretics, which has always been the practice of the Church.  Communion is not a right to all who wish it - I know this is very un-American, but it is biblical and even loving.  Again, read 1 Cor 11:27-30.

[130] Posted by Harry Edmon on 03-11-2007 at 05:42 AM • top

bwd,

This kind of listening has led many of us in the church to conclude that homosexuality is morally neutral.

As I pointed out elsewhere, the best** that you can hope for with such an assertion, is a situation where you have different standards for homosexual “partnerships,” vs heterosexual marriages.  The heterosexuals are fenced in from every side;  And the homosexuals would not be fenced in any way whatsoever. 

Basically, moral nuetrality for homosexuals would require that the ‘givens’ in heterosexual relationships (love, hate, fidelity, infidelity, trust, mistrust, separation, divorce) would be irrelavant.  Therefore one or both “partners” could hurt another in ways that would be considered reprehensible in heterosexual marriages, but there would be no warrant for their complaining. 

Acceptance of homosexuals is loving.  Acceptance of homosexuality is hateful to homosexuals. 

**Note:  Assumed for the sake of argument.  I still think that the nuetrality claim is spurious.

[131] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-11-2007 at 07:48 AM • top

bwd: “I read and understand the scriptures and the church’s teaching in a certain way.  You read and understand them in another way.”

If it doesn’t matter what we believe, why would we even get up on Sunday morning to go to church, much less all these other efforts?  So, here is the rub.  If we believe different things at the core, we have different religions, even if we pretend differently.

Some things are true and other things are false, and what we believe about them isn’t going to change their underlying truth or falsehood. Not everybody is going to respond faithfully.  See Matthew 22:11-14, especially verse 14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

[132] Posted by Andy Figueroa on 03-11-2007 at 08:55 AM • top

Thanks for the reply Matt, you seem to be in conversation with about half a dozen people on this thread so I think this will be my last post. You write:

‘Those wearing a rainbow sash or insignia publicly declare that: 1. they unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church and/or 2. that they are themselves willfully and unrepentantly engaging in homosexual sex.’

My point is that you cannot know this for certain. As I mentioned in my post ,those wearing the sashes buttons, whatever, will be doing so for a variety of reasons, protest, yes, but also to identify with a group they percieve to be marginalised and have sympathy with. The fact is, you are adopting a mode of action on the basis of what you perceive to be the motivation of their hearts, something you cannot possibly know simply from their dress. The Notorious Sinner line of argument, I think, assumes that you know the person concerned pretty well, and are as sure as you can be that they are unrepentant and making a mockery of the sacrament. This presumes a pastoral relationship, in which case the wearing of a rainbow becomes pretty irrelevant compared to the patterning of life.

A related question is to ask who are you (or any Priest) to determine the terms of repentance before a communicant is receive the elements? My reading of scripture is that we are to urge those who approach the Lords table to do so soberly and in all seriousness. They are to examine themselves, less they take communion in an unworthy manner and bring judgement upon themselves. But nowhere to I see an exhortation to make that call for them. Ultimately we are all accountable for our own lives, actions, response to the Holy Spirit and following of conscience.

I’m with William Witt on this one, use the sermon.

[133] Posted by Anselmic on 03-11-2007 at 10:33 AM • top

...I’ve got to go with Matt on this. You’ve got two church’s here - plain and simple. Over the 30 years we’ve let this slip away and allowed false prophiets in the mix. It’s time to Stand Firm and be heard. The church is here for everyone to atone their sins not promote them. If that’s the case - they should start there own denomination. Being an usher for some 20 years - I’ve had to ask several folks to leave the service do to their behavior which was very disturbing and they politely left for the Narthex of the church…When intent is to disrupt the service for a politcal or moral belief - in my opinion is wrong…let them do this in their own home. I’ve had tolerance with this situation for years, and now I see where it’s getting us.

[134] Posted by DOS on 03-11-2007 at 11:01 AM • top

Anslemic:

you said:

“The fact is, you are adopting a mode of action on the basis of what you perceive to be the motivation of their hearts, something you cannot possibly know simply from their dress.”

Absolutely not. Perhaps you misunderstood the proceedure. The fact is that this is the purpose of the time int he antechamber. If someone does not fall into one of the two aforementioned categories, that will be made clear in the exchnage.

[135] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-11-2007 at 01:14 PM • top

The words of this morning’s O.T. lesson stuck me as a warning to all, especial Pastors/Priests dealing with such issues:

7"So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. (Ez 33:7-9, ESV)

Also these words of comfort from the Epistle:

13No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13, ESV)

[136] Posted by Harry Edmon on 03-11-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

I appreciate that the majority on this site have a different theological understanding of same-sex relationship from those in the Rainbow Presence but I am deeply alarmed at the idea of withholding the sacrament from people whose theology you disapprove of.  Receiving the sacrament, surely, enhances spiritual grace and the process of discernment.

Would you be equally alarmed at the idea of withholding the sacrament from people who deny the divinity of Christ?  That is certainly a theology Christians would “disapprove of”.  And are you actually saying that receiving the sacrament in a state of defiance would enhance the process of discernment for politicized Rainbow Warriors?  That it would help them to realize the error of their ways and their need for repentance?

[137] Posted by Lori on 03-11-2007 at 04:50 PM • top

Unfortunately, the repentance is supposed to come before the sharing of the table, not as a sidebar or afterthought.  Persons who present themselves in defiance to the Gospel, as a political gesture, should be denied the Sacrament (cf: the General Confession, the Prayer of Humble Access, the Prayer of Consecration, and the Great Thanksgiving.)

[138] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 03-11-2007 at 05:20 PM • top

Lori,

I guess what troubles me is where the logic of this leads. I understand that refusing to accept some fundamental doctrinal point could be a reason for denying communion, at least as a matter of tradition (excommunication, literally). But I would have thought that it was a weapon kept in reserve for major issues. I think Matt has turned a relatively minor issue of morals and church discipline into a major one using an argument that is false. In effect, his argument runs that it would be a major issue to openly deny the authority of scripture. That scripture proscribes homosexual relationships. And that anyone who says different therefore openly denies the authority of scripture.

The last step seems false to me. Those of us who believe that gay relationships can be ok do not deny the authority of scripture. We simply interpret scripture differently, and in a way that you and Matt think is wrong. If you said to me: “Do you accept that scripture contains all that is necessary for salvation?” we would unhesitatingly answer, “Yes”, and we would be speaking the truth—accurately reporting our true belief on the matter. And it would still be true even if we were quite wrong about the particular question. So to ask us to “recant” our heretical views on the authority of scripture is unreasonable; on that point at least, our views are orthodox.

The practical trouble with going down Matt’s line is that, in theory, it makes everyone who believes something erroneous about scripture into a heretic, no matter how insignificant their error, because it turns all errors about what scripture says into errors about the authority of scripture. I think that would be unduly rigorist.

On this particular question, notwithstanding the real debate, I think there is probably broad consensus that one can legitimately hold different views without being in a state of such grievous sin as to have effectively excommunicated oneself. That at least seems to be the general mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole. It seems extreme to say that not only was it permissible for some primates in Dar-es-Salaam to absent themselves from communion with PB Schori, but that the ABC was wrong in even permitting her, as a notorious sinner, to communicate.

The position of a gay person in a sexually active relationship would be different, I can see. Though I hate the idea of anyone being refused communion, and Matt’s is not a church I would feel (or be) welcome at given my manner of life and my attitude to it, I can see that it may in some circumstances be thought necessary. In other words, I could respect Matt telling me he was not prepared to give me communion, provided he did it in an appropriate way. And in fact, I would think it an unloving challenge to present myself for communion, knowing his views and those of his congregation, much less at Easter and in a rainbow sash. But as others have pointed out, wearing a rainbow sash would not in itself amount to a confession of current gay sexual activity, and Matt would not be entitled to assume that it did and could only arrive at a conclusion on the issue by conducting some sort of rather unseemly cross-examination.

[139] Posted by Paul Stanley on 03-11-2007 at 06:17 PM • top

Lori and Chip:

I think the reason of denial here is basically that they are not only unrepentant but willing to make a display of this. Some in support of this would be guilty because they are willing to support a flagrant disregard of sanctity of the service. The priest is bound to refuse any he knows to be unworthy because of the danger to their souls. Matt is doing what is required of him by God and scripture.

I grew up with this knowledge. This is what we were taught in catechism class.

[140] Posted by Marlin on 03-11-2007 at 06:27 PM • top

Paul:

I understand that refusing to accept some fundamental doctrinal point could be a reason for denying communion, at least as a matter of tradition (excommunication, literally). But I would have thought that it was a weapon kept in reserve for major issues.

Perhaps I misunderstand you but excommunication is not what Matt is doing. He is just denying communion to known unrepentant sinners. Excommunication is drastic indeed. This is what should have been done with Pike and Spong which is being removed completely from the church. Quite a different thing than denying them the sacrament.

[141] Posted by Marlin on 03-11-2007 at 06:38 PM • top

Ok - perhaps one more…

I just re-read your initial post, your default starting position is that those wearing rainbow dress are doing so because they reject the clear teaching of Scripture or/and are active homosexuals. I appreciate your comments re discussion in the Antechamber, but I’m not conviced. Guess I just see the issue in broader terms than narrow rebellion / unrepentance.

I think Paul Stanley’s comment above is very persuasive. Can those of use who are traditional in sexual ethics accept that those with whom we disagree hold their position ‘in good faith’ -ie with a clear conscience, and that it represents the witness of Scripture? Some may not of course, but many do. I do feel there is a creep towards communion with the like-minded in the process you outline.

Also, you didn’t repsond to the portion of my comments regarding the principle of withholding communion per se. Again, apart from injunctions to seperate from sinners, the most relevant passage seems to be 1 Cor 11, where Paul urges his readers not to take communion unworthily, less they bring judgement (sickness and death) upon themselves. Again, my reading is that we are not to make this call for others by withholding communion, rather warning them of the consequences of receiving in a manner not fitting.

As leaders of a service I’d argue we need to make sure everyone is aware of the seriousness of communicating, and that the service is done in a seemly manner, and that ‘Notable Sinners’ (not anyone wearing a rainbow) are not to make a mockery of it. Beyond that, its the Lord who looks at the heart not the outward appearance.

[142] Posted by Anselmic on 03-11-2007 at 06:39 PM • top

Marlin,
let me clarify that I agree with Matt’s position, 100%!  Sorry if that was not clear in my using the block quote.  What I was referring to was my concern about the earlier poster who said that they were disagreeing with Matt in withholding the sacrament “just because” (in essence) Matt “disagreed with their theology.”

[143] Posted by Lori on 03-11-2007 at 06:39 PM • top

Gee, pretty amazing discussion. 

Why not just put a notice in the parish materials: Unmarried, non-straight, sexually active people need not attend?  Unmarried young people in general are not flocking into most churches anyways, and at least then they would have fair warning of what they could expect. Be sure to hang the Straights Only banners out, too, so far as warning for the sexually active, since after all, straights are allowed to get married.  Then as straight folks age and get married, they can return to church with their children.  Safe and sound and repentant.

I recommend David Carr’s book, The Erotic Word.  From Oxford U. Press.  But Marcus Borg liked it, and that probably weighs against it for some posters here.  A person could read it anyway, for target practice.

[144] Posted by drdanfee on 03-11-2007 at 06:44 PM • top

Anselmic,

I suppose I am a bit mystified by this:

” those with whom we disagree hold their position ‘in good faith’ -ie with a clear conscience, ‘

No doubt Marcion, Arius, Pelagius, et al held their position in good conscience as, no doubt, did Hymeneus and Phyletus and all of the other heretics who have led souls to hell. Why on earth are these modern heretics given special liscence to do the same?

[145] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-11-2007 at 06:47 PM • top

Marlin,

You may be right in theory (I am not expert enough to know), and perhaps my words were ill-chosen. But isn’t that or something like it not what Matt’s approach entails? He considers anyone who publicly expresses certain views about what moral rules apply to homosexual conduct and relationships as by our very subscription to those views and our public statement of them, notorious sinners because we “unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church”. He considers it his duty to refuse such people communion unless they repent of their sin, which we cannot in good conscience do unless we recant those views. In effect, so long as I believe what I believe (regardless of what I do or how I live my life), I cannot receive communion in Matt’s church, and (if all other priests followed his recommended line, as he presumably wishes they would) anywhere in the Anglican Communion. It’s quite a fierce line to take.

[146] Posted by Paul Stanley on 03-11-2007 at 06:59 PM • top

Paul

I think Matt has covered this very well in this post. If by “we “unrepentantly and willfully reject the clear teaching of both the Scriptures and the Church”.” You are referring to TEC then the “church”, in the light of its false doctrine, should be rejected as TEC rejects scripture. I am in a quandary as to whether I should take the sacrament in my own parish because of the possible corruption of the Eucharist in the 79 BCP

“In effect, so long as I believe what I believe (regardless of what I do or how I live my life), I cannot receive communion in Matt’s church,”

This would depend on whether or not what you are referring to would/could be considered sin according to scripture.

[147] Posted by Marlin on 03-11-2007 at 07:17 PM • top

That isn’t actually the position of the Church of England, who do not prevent or suggest that gay people in relationships cannot be active communicants - indeed, the recent Synod resolution stressed that they could be full and active members of the Church.

However, why would anyone wish to go to a church with someone like Matt as priest if they hold liberal views? I wouldn’t go there under any circumstances because I clearly do not agree with the religion preached there. I don’t believe in conservative christianity.

[148] Posted by Merseymike on 03-11-2007 at 07:24 PM • top

I’d like to have Matt for my priest any day.

[149] Posted by Marlin on 03-11-2007 at 07:31 PM • top

Thats because you are a conservative and agree with his religion. I don’t.

[150] Posted by Merseymike on 03-11-2007 at 07:35 PM • top

Yes, Merseymike, we can ALL be full and active members of the Church, and we are ALL called to the same repentance.

[151] Posted by Lori on 03-11-2007 at 07:56 PM • top

Let’s go back to my question to bwd at 9:58 p.m. - last night - I posed a question to bwd that up to now is unanswered:

bwd - I have a friend who has a wife.  He shares his marriage and his wife with another woman.  They have children (both women) together and all live as one family.  They have no problem with their arrangement and actually are shocked by those who would.  They explain their relationship and their experiences as loving, caring and God inspired.  What say you?

This is a real life situation - really, I promise.  Suppose I bring my group marriage friends to church.  The priest addresses the living situation with the trio and they are highly offended by the narrowmindedness of the priest and say so.  They state they will be there in mass the next week as a protest of the failure of the parish and priest to read Scripture in a non-judgemental way.  Do you really expect the priest to give communion to these individuals?  Please speak honestly as after all there is a “b” in glbt.  Integrity has stated they are dedicated to the FULL INCLUSION of glbt in the FULL life of the church.

[152] Posted by JackieB on 03-11-2007 at 10:18 PM • top

Hi Jackie, your scenario presumes, against the available cultural evidence for the time being at least, that bisexual people always wish to engage in group marriage.  Practical reasons seem to predominate, tilting against it as an option for them.  As one lady said to me, quoting Ethel Waters: One man or woman at a time in my life has been enough.  In fact, sometimes it has been too much.

I’ve met and talked with a few people who said they were bisexual, and none of them so far are interested in group marriage.  They are interested in being able to settle down and commit with another person in a serious relationship; but to them the key is what sort of person the partner is, not mainly whether the partner is a man or a woman as such.

The concern about group marriages might be sincere, since it often gets expressed with alarm; but the question of whether to admit or recognize gay/lesbian partnerships is distinct, factually and morally, from the question of group marriage as such. Permitting one does not necessarily led to permitting the other.  Massachusetts, for example, doesn’t allow group marriages, but does allow gay marriages.  Ditto for the other USA states which allow some sort of domestic partnership or civil union.  Ditto for Canada, Ditto for U.K., Ditto for Spain and Belgium and the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.

[153] Posted by drdanfee on 03-11-2007 at 10:53 PM • top

They are interested in being able to settle down and commit with another person in a serious relationship; but to them the key is what sort of person the partner is, not mainly whether the partner is a man or a woman as such.

That’s interesting.  One of my loved ones went through a stage when he experimented with bisexuality.  This is what he said about that lifestyle:

“Heterosexual sex is about good love.  Homosexual sex is about good sex.” 

Apparently for him during the time he was into bisexuality, it did  matter whether his partners were men or women.

(Chuckle) Would that be considered deviance, within GLBT circles?  smile

[154] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-11-2007 at 11:07 PM • top

Sorry Drdanfee, you do not pass go, you do not collect $200.  It does not matter whether you think multiple partner marriage is good or bad or a valid concern.  That’s kind of the point here.  The glbt lobby has argued without ceasing that it is a justice issue.  If “policing of the bedroom” is wrong in one case, it must be wrong in all.

[155] Posted by Jackie on 03-11-2007 at 11:21 PM • top

Tell the congregation that anyone taking communion announces by that act that if he as ever comitted or advocated for homosexual acts, he now rejects and repents of that sin.  If he is not willing to make that public confession and repentance, ask that he not receive.

Cousin Vinnie, that’s what the spoken confession prior to the Eucharist is for:  “We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.”  All who take communion say it; it’s an admission that we are, all of us, sinners, and in saying this, we assume that we are all sincere. Why make an exception of LGBT people by asking for a special public confession from them before they can receive the Eucharist?  This would seem to second-guess the spoken confession of sins against God and neighbor, and it could easily be perceived as persecution or even scapegoating.

[156] Posted by essef on 03-12-2007 at 01:57 AM • top

This article was written in 1997.  Out of the mouth of Louie Crew.
The Episcopal Church in Crisis
  by Tucker Carlson
The Week Standard, October 13, 1997
http://theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/32Ang/Epis/Crisis.htm
3rd paragraph from the bottom of the above article:
After a while it’s hard not to conclude that the push for gay marriage in the Episcopal Church is more a political quest than a religious one. Louie Crews, founder of the Episcopal gay group Integrity, doesn’t disagree. Getting the church to recognize homosexual marriages, he says, is just the first step on the long road to sexual emancipation. The next civil right to be established in the Episcopal Church, he predicts, will be the right to be married to more than one person simultaneously. “Threesomes and foursomes will have to push for their own agenda,” Crew says, sounding tired. “That’s not my battle. You can’t do all of it at once.”

Is there any doubt what the future agenda will be?
downer

[157] Posted by carol on 03-12-2007 at 04:05 AM • top

A couple of interesting web sites.  To long to post content
And in the rebirth of Spring
Ann Fontaine calls up the Rainbow Warriors
ANN FONTAINE http://seashellseller.blogspot.com/
a proposal for Easter - Rainbow Presence

hard to believe it is a priest’s website.  http://revjph.blogspot.com/

[158] Posted by carol on 03-12-2007 at 04:08 AM • top

Can I have a go at Jackie’s question and the comments it has generated.

Jackie:

The glbt lobby has argued without ceasing that it is a justice issue.  If “policing of the bedroom” is wrong in one case, it must be wrong in all.

Let’s deal with this first. “Policing the bedroom” is a catchphrase, an oversimplification. When we reappraisers say we think that “God doesn’t care what people do in their bedrooms” what we mean is that we don’t believe God is interested in the mechanics of sex as such. It doesn’t follow that, sexually, “anything goes”. For instance, infidelity and adultery remain wrong. Rape remains wrong. Sex with minors remains wrong. Pretty much everyone agrees on those things.

It’s a bit like saying “God doesn’t care what we eat”. True. But it doesn’t follow that there is no Christian ethic of food. Sure, we can eat lobster and bacon sandwiches. But gluttony is still a sin. If a person gorges themselves on lobster rolls, they do wrong—but not because they are eating lobster rolls, but because they are over-eating. In the same way, if a gay person cheats on his partner, he does wrong. But not because he cheats with a man. It would be just as wrong if he was straight and cheating on his wife with a woman.

Dan:

Hi Jackie, your scenario presumes, against the available cultural evidence for the time being at least, that bisexual people always wish to engage in group marriage.

And Moot:

... One of my loved ones went through a stage when he experimented with bisexuality.  This is what he said about that lifestyle:

“Heterosexual sex is about good love.  Homosexual sex is about good sex.”

I think this misses the point of Jackie’s question. It’s really not about bisexuality at all. It’s about where we would draw the line between the acceptable and the sinful. Jackie doesn’t assume that all bisexual people want to live in polyamorous relationships; she just has a specific example in mind where that happens to be true. Presumably bisexual folk run the whole gamut from those who want to find their one true love and settle down, to those who want to run around like greedy rabbits. Just like gay people. And straight people. I don’t think one should assume that any one can speak for them all.

So finally to Jackie’s actual question: How do we respond to the contentedly polyamorous?

Well, I think my response would run something like this. On balance, those who want to allow gay relationships still stick very closely to the traditional teaching on monogamy, fidelity, and stability in relationships. It’s precisely because in our experience gay relationships can so closely resemble—in how the partners feel about each other—the Christian ideal of faithful and lifelong marriage that we feel they should be recognised as such, and not ruled out of court simply on the ground that the partners are of the same sex. We say “this is not our battle” because we mean it: we don’t have an answer to the question of polyamorous or “open” relationships, and we don’t see that we need to have one.

But I think that is a bit of a cop-out, because I think you are entitled to ask us whether the arguments we use to support gay partnership might not support polyamorous relationships too. I think I’d say “maybe in theory, but probably not in practice.”

Could I conceive of God blessing a truly honest, fair and non-exploitative polyamorous relationship? Yes, I think I could in theory. After all, there are examples of such relationships in scripture, and in other cultures than ours. But there’s no doubt that these relationships are difficult to maintain in a healthy way. So many “open” relationships are the result of one partner simply being obliged to accept philandering on a “put up or shut up” basis. And while I am no expert in polyamorous relationships, I understand that it is hard to maintain them in a way that satisfies all participants without firm ground rules (and even with them), and our culture and tradition lack those rules, with the result that such relationships are often fraught with tension and difficulty. In those circumstances I personally find it hard to think that a Christian could be advised to enter into or remain in such a relationship. I think s/he would be told that s/he was putting her/himself in a position where the risk of being sucked into exploitative or abusive behaviour which harmed others, particularly any children involved, was too great, and that on that ground the relationship was wrong. But that is very much a tentative view, and I’d want to listen much more closely to the people involved, and to people who understand how these relationships (which seem weird and totally impossible to me!) might be made to work in a way that seems to me to be compatible with Christian ethics about how we treat others.

[159] Posted by Paul Stanley on 03-12-2007 at 06:25 AM • top

Or we can do what is presented in Scripture and honor marriage between a man and a woman.

[160] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 03-12-2007 at 07:30 AM • top

I think this misses the point of Jackie’s question. It’s really not about bisexuality at all.

Actually, it harmonizes quite nicely with Jackie’s thesis, though I admit not directly.  Jackie was saying, “Gee, here’s a situation where there is bisexuality involved, but it doesn’t quite harmonize with the GLBT assertion that they can have relationships that resemble Biblical Marriage in every other way except monogamy.  What would you guys do with that.”

Someone then responded by saying that for the bisexual, it’s not really about (so much) whether their partner is male or female. 

I responded back by saying that this assertion, from the standpoint of at least one bisexual individual, is not true.  If it’s not true, then well, the argument of Jackie’s worthy opponent is weakened. 

Jackie’s thesis (and please correct me if I am mistaken, Jackie) is basically that GLBT’s agenda has no grounds for their own set of sexual ethics.  They’ve failed by trying to have their sexual ethics be all things to all people;  However, most often when we do that, we end up being (and consequently, offering) nothing to all people.

[161] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 07:41 AM • top

Moot, Sorry I wasn’t clear. I thought it was Dan who was missing the point not you, by starting a hare running about bisexuality which was not Jackie’s main point. You were simply responding to Dan’s comment. We agree exactly on the point of Jackie’s post. And I think you and she raise important questions like “Where does this end?” and “Does this mean that anything goes?” and “If you draw a line, where do you draw that line?”

I appreciate the answers are not satisfactory to you. There’s an analogy with the food issue (not that I am saying it’s the same issue at all, of course). If you have detailed dietary laws, you can draw nice clear lines: Hamburger. OK. Cheeseburger. Not OK. Get rid of those sharp lines and you have to have a much “vaguer” and more contextually sensitive standard. Eating. OK. Gluttony. Not OK. But what is gluttony? It’s much harder to define. You can’t say “More than 2000 calories a day = glutton” or something simple like that.

We (on the reappraising side) find ourselves in much the same position. We are *not* saying “anything goes”. But we are seeking to erase certain traditional “bright lines”, and the lines we would draw in their place are subtler, maybe elusive. It is a fair criticism that a lot of time has been spent saying what we do not believe is wrong, and not enough time working out detailed answers to the question: Well, if you modify the traditional ethics of sexuality in this way, what do you put in its place and why?

I think that’s why most reappraisers tend to prefer to take baby steps, and start from the proposition that one could accept the blessedness of gay sex in the context of faithful and stable relationships which, except in one obvious and striking respect, very closely resemble the traditional ideal of marriage between man and woman. Oxymoronic as you may find the expression, it’s a “conservative” approach to liberal theology—and probably none the worse for that.

[162] Posted by Paul Stanley on 03-12-2007 at 07:58 AM • top

The great question that Jackie poses is where do we draw the line? Or is there any line, and if there is one, how do we determine where to draw it.

The problem with the answer by both drdanfee and Paul is that the answer seems to be determined entirely by human experience, opinions, and institutions (laws and customs in this and other countries) with no theological underpinning from the Bible, other than a general statement that the Bible calls for us to be nice to one another.

Saying that polyamory is not the issue for gays does not answer Jackie’s question. Secondly, if something does not work well in practice, then the theory is probably lousy and needs to be re-examined.

Jackie’s question, and the answer from drdanfee and Paul illustrate the fundamental divide in TEC. Reasserters believe that Jesus and the Bible set the standards of behavior to which we must accommodate ourselves if we are to truly be Christian, and ultimately achieve everlasting life.

The reappraisers seem to believe that our human experience can determine appropriate behavior, and that this behavior must be appropriate because God made us this way, and we will get into heaven no matter what.

As a result of this theology centered around the self, today’s issues of MDG, tax rates, Global warming etc take precedence for the reappraisers over Church’s responsibility to teach us the eternal truths of how to follow Jesus regardless of the exigencies of the moment. For me anyway, this is the great divide, and homosexuality is just the most visible symptom of the underlying disease.

People today are no fundamentally no different today than they were in Biblical times. The things that vexed people then still confront us today, and the temptations to sin then are the same as today, except that sin is much more readily available today. The way to best deal with the challenges of life yesterday, today, and tomorrow is to follow Jesus, and the Bible.

For reasserters, the answer to Jackie’s question is clear. Marriage is between one man and one woman, period. For reappraisers, there is no answer, because the answer depends on a myriad of human experiences and opinion upon which there will never be agreement. As a result, a religion based on human experience, with only an occasional nod to the Bible when it suits someone’s momentary purpose, is meaningless.

[163] Posted by BillS on 03-12-2007 at 08:20 AM • top

I’m sorry Paul but I disagree.  Without a clear moral authority to back the diversion from the path God set out for man and woman, the structure crumbles under its own weight.  I fully comprehend and understand the pain of denial.  I have stated to you elsewhere that the pain on the reasserter side is just as intense and mind-numbing.  This brings us back to theology.  The Church is founded on Biblical standards.  Deviating from those standards takes us off our foundation.  While I realize you disagree the theology laid down by the reappraisers has not held up to scrutiny.  Unless and until this happens, the Church has no choice but to reject such innovations.

[164] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 08:26 AM • top

BillS - I agree.

[165] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 08:28 AM • top

Sorry Matt, but I feel your dodging the question. Twice now I’ve posted regarding where you find the Scriptural authority for barring people from communion on account of their views as opposed to their lifestyle. You have yet to respond to that point. I know you work pretty much round the clock, but it does cut to the heart of the matter. Leaving aside the politics of the rainbows; leaving aside the ‘Notorious Sinner’ approach; am I right in understanding your position to be that you would withhold communion from anyone on the basis that they held that Same Sex Unions were permissible and were unwilling to repent from that position? That’s how I read your posts.

I’ve written about people supporting the full inclusion of LGBT people and identifying with that cause in ‘broad terms’, who whilst otherwise are pretty orthodox support SSU’s in ‘good faith’ with a clear conscience and you have responded ‘No doubt Marcion, Arius, Pelagius, et al held their position in good conscience as, no doubt, did Hymeneus and Phyletus and all of the other heretics who have led souls to hell. Why on earth are these modern heretics given special liscence to do the same?

I’m not sure if this is a serious comment or hyperbole?

The people I’ve described are not teachers, church leaders or activists, they are ordinary christians who have a more liberal position on issues of sexuality. Personally I disagree with them, I’d say they were in error, I’d think carefully about what leadership positions would be suitable for them in my parish but I wouldn’t rank them with Arius. And I wouldn’t single them out not to receive communion.

For a third time, my reading of 1 Cor 11 is that those who take communion unworthily, bring judgement on themselves. We as priests are to warn them of that, but I find no Scriptural injunction to barr anyone from communion on the basis of their views, provided they are baptised, and not bringing the sacrament into disripute by living a profligate life. God judges the depth of each of our confessions, cf the Tax collector and the Pharisee - not the clergy.

You seem to be saying that by virtue of the fact that someone holds a different view to you on issues of sexuality they are either a false teacher or rebellious and therefore should not receive the sacrament, because for such a person to do so would in and of itself bring the sacrament into disrepute. I find the logic strained, and the implications of such a view disturbing.

Hoping for your reply.

Anselmic

[166] Posted by Anselmic on 03-12-2007 at 08:59 AM • top

Anselmic,

It is no dodge at all. I have over and over again pointed to those myriad passages in which those facilitating the sin of others are condemned. You obviously have not read this thread.

[167] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:01 AM • top

Moreover, it is not just the holding of a position contrary to the scriptures but it is the open defiance of scriptural teaching and the solidarity and support of those who are living in sin. Ever heard of Millstones?

Seriously, your reply makes it seem as if you not read carefully at all.

[168] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:03 AM • top

whoseover causes one of these little ones to sin…

[169] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:08 AM • top

Jackie, You will not be surprised to hear that I did not expect us to agree! But your thoughtful question deserved an answer. We keep coming back to that fault-line. Inadequate as you and Bill S think my views are, what I am trying to do and what he and you are trying to do is the same thing. We all agree that what we’re after understanding is God’s standards. Sadly for all of us, we disagree about what they are. I can also agree with Bill S that if “if something does not work well in practice, then the theory is probably lousy and needs to be re-examined” ... a view which takes us in very different directions on this issue.

But thank you for the question. It made me think. We need hard questions.

[170] Posted by Paul Stanley on 03-12-2007 at 09:08 AM • top

Ok I’m sensing some hostility here, so I’ll get straight to the point.

You still haven’t answered the question just a couple of cheap barbs. So I assume its yes, you would withhold communion from anyone who believes SSU’s are valid, because to hold that view confirms others in their sin and on that basis you would withhold communion.

You still haven’t defended what makes you the judge as to whether a confession is valid and communion ‘acceptable’ I guess you can’t. You still haven’t given any scriptural evidence as to why ones views, as opposed to ones lifestyle might dishonour the Sacrament. You still haven’t given any scriptural support for withholding the sacrament from anyone as opposed to warning them of the consequences of taking it in a manner unworthy of it.

Interestingly in the millstones passage you refer to, once again it is God who acts in judgement, not us on his behalf.

Maybe we both need to read more carefully but at least I have done you the honour of engaging with your posts as opposed to dimissing them.

Peace.

[171] Posted by Anselmic on 03-12-2007 at 09:24 AM • top

Anselmic,

I just re-read your posts and must confess a bit of irritation at the tone of them. First, I am not now nor have I ever ducked your questions or any others so back off of that line or things will devolve quickly.

Second, I think we will likely end up disagreeing on this point. I think it an egregious sin to publicly and willfully defy the clear word of God and to confirm/affirm others in so doing. It is in fact a notorious sin and there is plenty in the scriuptures about excommunicating or disfellowishipping people in such a state. I am not sure why you focus exclusively on 1 Cor 11 except that you make a somewhat weak argument from silence: “Nowhere in 1 Cor 11 does it say to refuse communion to someone who disagrees with you.” This is a bit like the “Jesus doesn’t say anything about homosexuality argument.” In fact, while 1 Cor 11 says nothing about denying communion to those who facilitate the blindness and sin of others, Matthew 18:1-6, Galatians 1, 2 Peter 2, and 2nd John have plenty to say about the matter.

Third I would strongly object to the idea that you must limit the title of heretic to those with collars. Anyone teaching false doctrine and publicly advocating the same is rightly considered a heretic.

[172] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:28 AM • top

“You still haven’t answered the question just a couple of cheap barbs. So I assume its yes, you would withhold communion from anyone who believes SSU’s are valid,”

This is the tone I am speaking of. Back off.

Secondly. Read What I Write.

I did not say Anyone who holds the position that SSU’s are valid. I was specifically referring to those who promote and support it in a public way.

[173] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:30 AM • top

“You still haven’t defended what makes you the judge as to whether a confession is valid and communion ‘acceptable’ I guess you can’t.”

What on earth are you talking about. When someone confesses and repents of their sins they are saying that they are committing to sin no more. Wearing the insignia after such a confession belies all that. It says, I do not repent of this sin and it was not part of my confession. I reject the scriptural witness that this thing is a sin.

[174] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:33 AM • top

Ok forget it, I thought this site was supposed to be about constructive debate. You are the Webmaster (or one of them). I’ll leave you to it.

[175] Posted by Anselmic on 03-12-2007 at 09:41 AM • top

Sheesh,
I am not the webmaster. I do have editing priveleges. But I was not threating you with banning. I was pointing out that your tone is one characteristic of someone asking for a fight and if that is what you want you will get it.

This site is indeed all about debate. Let’s do it. But just drop the snideness. I wasn’t giving short replies because I was not taking you seriously. I was giving short replies because I had no time to respond to your posts in full. Again read what I write, don’t read in your own assumptions.

But, debate sans the attitude, lets do it.

[176] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-12-2007 at 09:53 AM • top

Anselmic,

Matt certainly does not need my help in defending his positions, but please allow me to
give a third party view of your discussion.

Matt has answered your question, but you do not like the answer. The answer seems fairly straightforward.

Homosexual behavior is sinful. Those who wear a rainbow insignia are openly declaring that that they may be engaged in sinful behavior, and do not intend to repent nor do their best not to commit that sin in the future. Once Matt has verified from a private discussion that individuals who are wearing rainbow insignia are sinning, and that they plan to continue, he will not serve them communion, as his right and duty as priest.

Same thing would apply to someone who is committing adultery, and tells Matt that adultery is OK and that this person plans to continue.

Whether you agree or not, Matt’s reasoning, position, and explanation is clear.

[177] Posted by BillS on 03-12-2007 at 10:05 AM • top

Jackie: 
Sorry, yesterday was long day.  If I knew your friends I might be a friend to them also.  If they asked me to bless their relationship(s), I would decline.  But in my 35 years as a priest I have never refused communion to anyone.  I agree with Anselmic on this point.

[178] Posted by bwd on 03-12-2007 at 10:06 AM • top

Thank you Matt+.  That is the most unassailable advice/positionI’ve seen to date.
Peace,
Andy

[179] Posted by aterry on 03-12-2007 at 10:34 AM • top

Let me put my 2 cents worth in here.

Anselmic, you are just trying to be antagonistic. Fr. Matt has been admirable in dealing with you.

Fr. Matt, there is a old saying. I don’t know whether or not it is in the Bible but a quick search in e-sword didn’t come up with it. That saying is, “There are none so blind as they who will not see.”. I think this would apply here.

[180] Posted by Marlin on 03-12-2007 at 10:45 AM • top

Moot, Sorry I wasn’t clear. I thought it was Dan who was missing the point not you, by starting a hare running about bisexuality which was not Jackie’s main point.

Thank you for the heads-up.  smile

I think that’s why most reappraisers tend to prefer to take baby steps, and start from the proposition that one could accept the blessedness of gay sex in the context of faithful and stable relationships

A supurb and irenic statement, of where you and I necessarily part company. 

which, except in one obvious and striking respect, very closely resemble the traditional ideal of marriage between man and woman.

Or more aptly, how the Marriage covenant is designed at Creation.  Words like “traditional,” and “ideal,” loose meaning outside of this context. 

Oxymoronic as you may find the expression, it’s a “conservative” approach to liberal theology—and probably none the worse for that.

I understand what you mean by that, and the way you describe it, do not find the phrase oxymoronic.

[181] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 11:14 AM • top

For reasserters, the answer to Jackie’s question is clear. Marriage is between one man and one woman, period. For reappraisers, there is no answer, because the answer depends on a myriad of human experiences and opinion upon which there will never be agreement. As a result, a religion based on human experience, with only an occasional nod to the Bible when it suits someone’s momentary purpose, is meaningless.

Not an accurate representation of your opponents’ position, BillS.

Mark 2:24-28

The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Ears to hear, etc.

[182] Posted by essef on 03-12-2007 at 12:13 PM • top

Essef:

I’m a bit confused, are you quoting the verse you intended. This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage. With the quote you gave your point is lost.

However it could be the position of the person you quoted has been proven.

[183] Posted by Marlin on 03-12-2007 at 12:25 PM • top

Marlin, maybe this will help.

Mark 7:1-9

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. . . . So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!

[184] Posted by essef on 03-12-2007 at 12:50 PM • top

Richard Kew’s take: from here:

“It seems that there is a real childishness about all this, and I wonder if some of those on the right are taking it more seriously than such immaturity deserves. It is sort of “Let’s all dress up and dance around the maypole to show those horrid ol’ primates just how mean we think they are.”

Those foisting all these innovation on the church have never successfully responded to the objections coming from the mainstream of Christianity. What responses there are reflect an inadequate grasp of Scripture and Christian tradition. But this doesn’t seem to matter, for where the church has always been is more likely to be blown off with a wave of the hand that the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing, while they skip off down a path reflecting the tired values of a relativistic, confused, and secular-pagan culture.”

[185] Posted by El Jefe on 03-12-2007 at 12:53 PM • top

My mistake; the previous post was supposed to have a link: http://richardkew.blogspot.com/

[186] Posted by El Jefe on 03-12-2007 at 01:04 PM • top

Add to that essef :

Mark 7:9-13
(9)  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
(10)  For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
(11)  But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
(12)  And ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or his mother;
(13)  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Matthew 15:16-20
(16)  And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
(17)  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
(18)  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
(19)  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
(20)  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

What Jesus is speaking to is the corruption in the church at that time. However it applies to the church today as well. TEC today bases its biblical interpretations on secular values rather than the scripture. This though has nothing to due with marriage or the topic which is the “response to the rainbow warriors”.

[187] Posted by Marlin on 03-12-2007 at 01:25 PM • top

Paul - Sorry for the delayed response - work and all that stuff. 

I, too, fail to be surprised that we do not agree.  Actually, the only hope I see of getting us over this impasse is if the revisionist agree to truly back down and await the day, if and when it comes, when theology backs the experience.  As I write this I realize the reaction it will bring.  I have been told more than once - “Where is the compromise?”  But to that I must respond, there can be no compromise from the reasserters.  It is a matter of God’s command versus man’s desires. 
Again, I say this with a heavy heart as I have g/l friends and relatives who are near and dear to me.  I will tell you like I told one of them - I would rather risk offending you on earth than lose you for an eternity.  That being said - please know I will continue to pray that God grants my request for an open heart and discerning heart.

[188] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 01:40 PM • top

Hi jackie, just for the record, I am not mainly trying to pass go and collect 200 dollars.  That is monopoly, fun if you have the hours it used to take me and some friends to actually wear a game out to its final conclusions, property by property by rent.  So far as the progressive views on LGBTQ stuff, there are a variety of concerns, perceptions, weighings and working conclusions. 

To very, very sketchily summarize then, I would put a list of possible touchstones, something like the following: (1) we note that none of the legacy negative impairments traditionally claimed for not being straight holds true under careful testing by available empirical methods - that leads to deciding that not being straight is inside normalcy or nature rather than outside as formerly claimed in most cultural and religious views; (2) barring such legacy hindrances, we look about for positive guidelines - do LGBTQ folks then need a special set of guidelines or models, unique to themselves, albeit within the normal or natural ranges? 

So far the answers to (2) are a mix, still emerging.  The first part answer is maybe a provisional no, in favor of working with the notions that a great many things which would otherwise apply if the person were straight, probably still apply and are useful in guiding or evaluating daily life for the person who is not straight.  This is a big, big revolution in itself and is hardly finished as a social turn for the better. 

The second part answer is a working no, aimed not at being non-straight as such, but aimed at the continuing prejudices and discriminations which may still occur.  Since some of these are common sensically based on legacy religious negatives, that domain comes in for critical inquiry and weighing, too.

You may summarize both trends of changed thinking as justice issues, so long as you are willing to occupy such a justice frame as a very wide, deep, and comprehensive pledge, based on all the available gospel roots including pertinent scripture authorities. 

But pledging justice in that way seems not to read as what conservatives often seem to mean when they tag LGBTQ stuff as a justice issue.

The implicit frame among conservative thinking seems to be that in that sense, justice, is a lesser issue or frame which might have a derivative place (particularly outside the faith or sacramental community in wider secular society) at best.  This meaning or apprehension of justice, then, obviously gets trumped by - so far as I can tell from reading - both obedience and holiness issues or frames.  I read holiness and obedience, so far in many conservative narratives, as innately higher religious authorities or paths so to speak.  So these surely apply strictly and profoundly (inside faith or sacramental communities).

So, to momentarily occupy a bit of the additional implicit frames, we must admit from a progressive point of view that all three centers of value are involved in changing, newer views of LGBTQ stuff.

Yes, justice frames apply.  Fewer and fewer people see or feel any practical or social value in continuing to criminalize not being straight, short of the fraud and assault criminalities which would seem to still apply to us all, no matter what. 

Yes, obedience frames still apply, even in the revised LGBTQ stuff, because we are given authority in scripture to discern and obey the best that we know and understand, though we still see through a glass darkly and nobody is in Christ of his or her own fallible human powers, but rather via faith that is following or following that is faith.  (Faith the verb, as one poster here once said.) 

Yes, holiness frames still apply, even in the revised LGBTQ stuff, because across all embodiments we live that can common sensically be described as sexual, we are called to core values of honesty, care, and mutuality. 

As other posters have already noted in this thread, these emergent ways some believers are laying claim to frames of justice, obedience, and holiness are not very puritannical when it comes to LGBTQ stuff. 

Appropriating honesty, care, and mutuality is about the heart, and not so much about permissable and impermissable sex acts or marital statuses.  Somebody just posted here, noting a similarity to how religious ethics might apply to food issues - and yes, of course, that is to the point of understanding these changes. 

We are provisionally thinking and living that sexual and relationship phenomena (based mainly in embodiment as currently understood, developmentally) are possibly changed.  This softening and contextuality have much in common, maybe, with how the early church realized that eating kosher (and avoiding eating non-kosher with Gentiles) was changed as one followed Jesus. 

In any case, our point is to change our own lives and relationships for the better in that sort of softer, contextualized frame for daily life, and nobody else is required to stop counting orgasms or contextualize strict and clear sexual rules if that still makes sense to them in their own daily life. 

People are going step by step through the big sea change in our knowledge of human nature and human sexuality, wisely I think for the time being, since the New Biology probably will shortly flood out with unprecedented and amazing new data in both key domains.

Softer, contextual discernment does not mean Anything Goes.  You need your feelings, your heart, as much as you need rules or principles.  You need an empathic ability to be in the other person’s shoes, especially when it comes to interpersonal sexualities, even short of genital interactions as such.  The same gospel discernments of embodiment that make a wet dream just fine, are probably part of how the rest of the sexual phenomenal repertoire can begin to be discerned and lived, faithful to frames of justice, care, and mutuality.

[189] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 02:36 PM • top

Hi Moot, good to hear that your friend eventually found his way in life and sex and relationships.  I cannot speak for all LGBTQ folks, of course.  My best guess in answer to your question would be that probably, maybe, perhaps - many LGBTQ people would hear about your friend and consider him as passing through some sort of transitional or developmental stage in which he probably, maybe, perhaps was sorting out some issues, steps, or stages in coming to a knowledge and understanding of himself.  His experiential conclusion at least suggests that something like that might, maybe, have been happening, i.e., that heterosexual sex is about love while homosexual sex is about pleasure.

He’s welcome to live his lessons, in that regard.  Other people have passed through similar transitions or developments and discovered that for them, heterosexual sex was hardly ever anything except sex, while homosexual sex was love.  Go figure.

One of the heuristic difficulties with the legacy views and frames is that they have little or no concept of just this typical sort of human maturation or transition or development.  Even quite conservative religious people who lead marriage enrichment workshops now realize that unless the husband and wife grow together, fairly consistently over the long years of our contemporary life spans, the marriage connection will wither and dry and die out.  Indeed, something similar can happen in a faith or spiritual life, too.  Quite apart from sexuality and marriage as such.

[190] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 02:48 PM • top

You may summarize both trends of changed thinking as justice issues, so long as you are willing to occupy such a justice frame as a very wide, deep, and comprehensive pledge, based on all the available gospel roots including pertinent scripture authorities. 

But pledging justice in that way seems not to read as what conservatives often seem to mean when they tag LGBTQ stuff as a justice issue.

drdanfee -
Just for the record - it is the glbt community/action groups who have considered this a justice issue - not the reasserters.

I don’t think that it is fair that I can’t eat everything I want.  I am genetically predisposed to overeating and if there were any justice in the world, I would not be unfairly discriminated against by the metobolic process.  My husband tells me he is genetically predisposed to drag women into dark caves and use his awesome powers of persuation on them.  I have told him that I am genetically predisposed to the use of a dull butter knife in the dark of night.  And so we can continue in this vein until the cows come home.

There is a difference between man’s justice and God’s laws.  I didn’t make ‘em but I try my best, albeit with continued failure, to follow them.  I will reiterate one more time - bring good, clear theology to the table and we can talk.  Until then we are on opposite sides of the divide and all we are doing is pushing air across the divide.

[191] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 02:54 PM • top

Drdanfee, what struck me in your last post is that your oblique reference to the Word (“obedience frames” and “holiness frames”) come long after you establish the premise that “none of the legacy negative impairments traditionally claimed for not being straight holds true under careful testing by available empirical methods - that leads to deciding that not being straight is inside normalcy or nature rather than outside as formerly claimed in most cultural and religious views”.  You find the answer based on your experience and [incorrect] secular testing, and then look to interpret Scripture accordingly.

Want real freedom and justice? Find your answers first from the clear meaning of Scripture, and interpret and live life accordingly.

[192] Posted by Going Home on 03-12-2007 at 03:22 PM • top

“Unmarried young people in general are not flocking into most churches anyways” - drdanfee

You havbe obviously not been to some the more Evangelical, Bible-thumping churches (Episcopal or not) lately.  This generation is being stimulated when they hear the truth and not some “whatever” version of it.  This generation does not have the time or stomach for another social club run by middle-aged ex-hippies.  Even in our own mostly orthodox parish the teens’ favorite class is the one that requires them to actually read and test on the Bible.

[193] Posted by Wilkie on 03-12-2007 at 04:17 PM • top

many LGBTQ people would hear about your friend and consider him as passing through some sort of transitional or developmental stage in which he probably, maybe, perhaps was sorting out some issues, steps, or stages in coming to a knowledge and understanding of himself.

Actually, as I pointed out, my intent in sharing it was to cast doubt on a spurious supposition.  However, I appreciate the statement in that it effectively summarizes the Apostle Paul in Phil 3:18,19.  From an unlikely source, no less.  Sin is attractive to us because it feels so darn good.  Take away the good feeling you get in your belly, and gluttony (e.g.,) looses its appeal. 

Completely. 

Other people have passed through similar transitions or developments and discovered that for them, heterosexual sex was hardly ever anything except sex, while homosexual sex was love.  Go figure.

I would suggest that that these people haven’t fully past through their “transitions” and “heuristic difficulties” on their path to self-discovery.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

One of the heuristic difficulties with the legacy views and frames is that they have little or no concept of just this typical sort of human maturation or transition or development.  Even quite conservative religious people who lead marriage enrichment workshops now realize that unless the husband and wife grow together, fairly consistently over the long years of our contemporary life spans, the marriage connection will wither and dry and die out.

 
You have a talent for stating the obvious.  But I still fail to see how this analogy to marriage would apply to homosexual unions, or any other fallen expression of human sexuality.

[194] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 04:22 PM • top

Actually, Moot, your statement -

  Take away the good feeling you get in your belly, and gluttony (e.g.,) looses its appeal. 

is not exactly correct.  I do not believe satisfaction of the belly is the culprit here.  Most people who overeat do so to satisfy a mental state - not a hungry belly.  If we were to only eat when we were hungry and stop when we were full, no one would be overweight.  It is, however, an excellent example of our desire to satisfy ourselves and not God.

[195] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 05:08 PM • top

Hello Moot, the best read I can get from your reply is that you disagree with any notion that anybody can mature into homosexuality as effectively or naturally as somebody else matures into heterosexuality - and about for the same or similar reasons of growth into congruence, open and honest.  You seem to insist that homosexuality, if considered a transitional sexual phenomena, is at best an innate immaturity.  You also seem pretty involved with the pat belief that being gay must be about nothing but momentary pleasure, since you cannot conceive that it ever involves care, growth, and committed relationships.

I think the Vatican might agree with you, and go even further to call homosexuality an innately disordered condition.  All that is fine, except that all the other legacy claims of innate disorder have not been disconfirmed, and only the unnaturalness of sperm meeting egg remains. 

The point about development is more confusing to read in your reply.  On the one hand you seem to acknowledge that development might be built into human nature - an order of createdness, even if flawed? - at many different levels, one or more of which could conceivably reflect a glimpse of Imago Dei.  On the other hand, you seem to prefer to reserve this capacity for development or maturity for straight people, while preferring to deny it to gay ones (until they finally mature into being straight?). 

Oh well.

As you suggest, time will tell.  I am beholden indeed to all the non-straight folks, including the believers, who have lived before me.  Time marches on, not least for me, my partner, and the children.

[196] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 06:01 PM • top

Hi Wilkie, well I haven’t been to a USA mega church for a bit, but I do vividly recall growing up in the USA Bible Belt and attending lots of churches, big and small.  I would be surprised if the young folks who do come to any church were not pretty intentional about it.  Passing test exams on scripture is a hallowed ritual, going way back if I am remembering it right.  What I am talking about is the rest of those age groups.  You know, whose data are reported in the accepting trends now showing up fairly consistently in attitude and belief survey data, not just what is happening in this or that mega church.  So far at least, acceptance is winning the day - even among rather conservative young adults - as posters here have been kind enough to point out to me.  That is good news, since when I was coming up, hitting wasn’t nearly so uncool as it is now.  I am old enough to still remember the old days, and lucky enough to have lived into better ones. Thank goodness, thank God.

[197] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 06:09 PM • top

You seem to insist that homosexuality, if considered a transitional sexual phenomena, is at best an innate immaturity.

Not at all.  It’s based on lies, from the Father of Lies.  The purpose of the lies is to destroy nice people like yourself, your partner, and your wards. 

I understand that you and I do not agree on whether the analogy between homosexual “union” and marriage is in fact, based on a lie.  That’s a given.  Different worldviews - we won’t agree on some things. 

(Shrug) ...  Givens.

My contention however, is that there will be a time when we both agree with one another, fully and completely.  Truth can be shared, even over a chasm.  So can kinship.  Other things (e.g., water) cannot be shared over chasms.

[198] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 06:12 PM • top

Jackie,

Most people who overeat do so to satisfy a mental state - not a hungry belly.

Thank you, and you are quite correct.  Perhaps the concept of pleasure does not truly apply, in the pursuit of the unholy.  I’ll have to think about that.

[199] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 06:17 PM • top

Wow thanks, Timothy, for being accurate in your perceptions of my overall hermeneutic.  Yes, I do start intentionally with the empirical data.  If it is incorrect, then that inaccuracy must be demonstrated via the same careful - or even more careful, double-blind research methods - which tested it in the first place.  And, thanks, too, for noting that I intentionally avoid the very hermeneutic approach you are kind enough and clear enough to lay out.  Yes, I intentionally do not start with scripture when I wish to understand something from a sheerly natural or empirical perspective.  Why not?  Well, because if I did, we would still believe in Ptolemy’s Cosmos, and Galileo’s name would hardly have become a household watchword.  I avoid seeking these things in scripture, because after all scripture is not infallible when it comes to anything empirical - although scripture may still accord with our most accurate provisional empirical data.  Otherwise, it is flat earth religion all over again.  This crunch is only going to get more difficult as the new data floods out from the New Biology. All early indicators are that some of our biggest and oldest paradigms for human nature are going to change, if not fall apart all together.

So far in history, scripture has not finally been able to be used to totally mistake the tested facts; and I guess we shall eventually see about that dilemma, again, this time around in our understandings of human nature and sexuality.  Really, though, what a great pleasure to have somebody notice so accurately just what my overall interpretational approach really is.  Thanks for acknowledging what I am doing so clearly.  This general hermeneutic is fairly consistent with the varied range of progressive believer hermeneutics.  See: http://progressivetheology.wordpress.com/  Especially his chapter on reading the Bible.

And: http://www.tcpc.org/library/article.cfm?library_id=360

[200] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 06:23 PM • top

There are other stories at this site but I’ve talked with this person a few times. He posts on VOL and this is his story.
Daryle’s Story.
Instead of trying to relate this my self go and read for your self about the “glories of homosexuality” from one who has changed and is leading a new life.

[201] Posted by Marlin on 03-12-2007 at 06:27 PM • top

Hi Jackie, chances are good in the New Biology that, if you do have an eating disorder, new treatments will be able to significantly alter it for the better.  Ditto for a lot of other key domains of human personality and behavior.  I do not think you can bridge the new gaps or changes that are going to appear in public knowledge very easily, just from reading scripture in the most traditional manner possible.  Otherwise we would head off to the local Anglican priest these days when we have a toothache, instead of making an appointment with our local dentist and calling to verify our dental plan coverage. So, let us agree to disagree about how best to read scripture, and I will not lobby for you to be denied dental services, no matter what.

[202] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 06:30 PM • top

You go ahead and live your life believing anything you choose.  Just don’t try to impose it on the Anglican Church and we should do just fine.  Oh and for the record, dental hygiene was not a prohibition of God.

[203] Posted by JackieB on 03-12-2007 at 06:38 PM • top

Nice to hear that Daryl finally found his way to somewhere that makes good sense to him, even if he still struggles with the support of his wife.  One can only wish him the best.  Similarly, one wishes the best to all those others who have also struggled and found their growthful ways through the real and complicated Coming Out process.  I note that Daryl never really completed that inner and outer series of life development steps, and who knows?  Maybe he was mysteriously never meant to do so.  Others have, and their decent, honest lives speak for themselves.  We are blessed as friends, family, or co-workers to have people among us who so value personal integrity and honesty, even if their paths in life seem quite different.

The other questions for Fr. Matt are not just about whether he should police believers who might come forward to the eucharist in his own parish - good conservative seminary training probably needs to address that role function anew, but what he has to say and do in response outside his parish church to the daily, decent lives of Out, Partnered, and Parenting queer folks whom he otherwise wishes to condemn as a first step in calling them to his traditional brand of repentance. We are probably going to be agreeing to disagree for quite a long while to come yet.

[204] Posted by drdanfee on 03-12-2007 at 06:47 PM • top

Nice to hear that Daryl finally found his way to somewhere that makes good sense to him, even if he still struggles with the support of his wife.  One can only wish him the best.

Daryl found, or rather was found by, his true Love.  Well before he met his future wife. 

I love Prodigal Son stories, like this.  They remind me of God’s wild, goofy love for those who show even the tiniest beginning of repentance.  They remind me not to give up on the more obvious Prodigals in my own life.  Truly, stories like this are warrant for joy and celebration. 

Wishes?  You know what they say about ‘em.  They’re eh .. not substansive enough for me.  Probably not for Daryl either.  But it’s a nice thought, just the same.

[205] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-12-2007 at 07:04 PM • top

All early indicators are that some of our biggest and oldest paradigms for human nature are going to change, if not fall apart all together.

You mean cultural shifts, which have been going on as long as htere have been human beings and have shifted one way then the other. Big deal. Your hermeneutic is fine for things of this world, and if that is all your faith is about, good for you. But it’s not Christian. The spiritual life has nothing to do with dental hygiene - and for Christians, it has everything to do with the Bible.

[206] Posted by oscewicee on 03-12-2007 at 07:12 PM • top

What exactly is the purpose of the denial of communion? I guess I can understand if a person is deliberately and knowingly living in some kind of notorious sin. But, I just can’t see any benefit in witholding the Lord’s supper from a sincere Christian believer who may not agree with your interpretation of Scripture in this issue, Fr. Matt. What will be accomplished in this?

Plus, shouldn’t Christian believers be searching their own hearts and minds in this whole thing. A priest is only human. How can he/she look into someone’s life, and know with certainty if someone should receive the sacrament or not.

I think it better to just preach the word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to inform each person’s conscience in this matter. It’s to God that we’re all individually accountable. We can count on Him to over time work to conform all believers to the image of Jesus.

Respectfully, Fr. Matt. this just doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.

There’s some time between now and Easter. Maybe you might reconsider, and pray about this.

[207] Posted by Grace17033 on 03-12-2007 at 08:09 PM • top

Grace17033 isn’t it odd how the Holy Spirit tells me to do one thing and someone to something entirely different in the same or similar situation.  Isn’t that what is or has happened in Daryl’s life and the life of a non-celibate SS union, why would the Holy Spirit do that?  Could it not be individual wishes or interpretation and not that of the Holy Spirit, or could it be 2 different spirits; which spirit is the Holy one?  For another testimony read about Dawn McDonald.

http://www.zacchaeus.ca/Dawn.html

For more, go to http://www.zacchaeus.ca/OurStories.html
Which spirit has given them the power and desire to change their lives?  God has bless these wonderful people and I thank them for sharing their lives with us.
http://www.zacchaeus.ca/index.html

[208] Posted by carol on 03-12-2007 at 08:39 PM • top

I can’t begin to respond to all of the points being made on this thread, but call this my modest contribution to the “listening process.”

Before I became a Christian, I understood perfectly well that there was one Biblical standard for human sexuality: that of lifelong, faithful, heterosexual monogamy.  No exceptions!  As a sexually active gay male, that was one of the best reasons I had for not wanting to be one (a Christian, that is).  The Church was honest with me, and I was more than happy to return the favor.

After my conversion to Christ, my understanding remained fully intact and I knew what was expected of me.  In order to be faithful to Our Lord and the demands of the Christian faith, active participation in a gay lifestyle had to go, and so it did.  I have been practicing sexual abstinence for fifteen years now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It may seem strange to many, but I have actually come to find it quite liberating.

Having said that, let me add that I still don’t have a “straight” bone in my body.  Although I have participated, to my tremendous benefit, in so-called “ex gay” ministries and counseling, I never pursued reparative therapy or imagined that becoming a heterosexual was something that God had in mind for my life.  To be sure, celibacy isn’t for everyone, and I am very happy for those who have gone on to achieve the necessary healing in their lives which has enabled them to become Christian husbands and fathers (and yes, God be praised, that does happen!), but I do not envy them, or feel particularly deficient because I am unable to follow their example.  I have developed a real sense that God is calling upon me to be faithful at all times, but not necessarily “successful,” where heterosexuality in itself is the norm by which such success is measured.   

Perhaps I am one of those people who discovered, upon becoming “a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven,” that this was simply a vocation to which God would have eventually called me in any case, regardless of my sexual orientation.  As scripture says, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”  Amen!  I may never know the tremendous joy, or bear the awesome responsibility, of being a husband or a father, but I do know what it would mean if I abandoned my commitment to chastity and returned to active involvement in a homosexual lifestyle, “monogamously partnered” or otherwise: the effective renunciation of my faith in Christ and a willing involvement in mortal sin.  It would be both spiritually and intellectually dishonest for me to pretend otherwise. 

God loves us all very much, exactly as we are, and the Christian life is one of joy, celebration, and fulfillment.  But I think the call to conversion is also an invitation to place ourselves, our very lives, between the hammer and the anvil as God undertakes the serious business of forging us into new creatures in Christ, to the extent that we will allow Him to do so.  There is a real sense in which we simply must “count the cost” of discipleship if we are to become Christians at all.  (And I have tremendous respect for the honest pagan who says, “No, I simply cannot believe any of this, and I am not prepared to live this way.”  Such persons can be safely entrusted to the “Hound of Heaven.”  I am confident that He too appreciates their honesty, and manages to catch up with quite a few of them!)  We are always free to decide for ourselves that the cost is too great, but we are never free to decide on our own just what that cost is going to be.  Ultimately, we must accept it upon God’s terms or not at all.  He seems to want all of us, all that we are, and all that we have, and, unless we turn Him away, He simply will not settle for anything less.  Our sexuality doesn’t change a thing. 

As I struggle with temptation, and against any residual tendencies towards despair and resignation (and I do again and again), I am always drawn to the words of St. Peter to Our Lord: “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  To whom else, indeed?  And so for me, the journey of faith, and the challenge of faithfulness, continues. 

Thanks for “listening,” and God bless all here!

P. S.  Re: “rainbow warriors” in church.  Father Kennedy, I think you have it quite right!

[209] Posted by episcopalienated on 03-12-2007 at 09:15 PM • top

Episcopalienated,

I am very moved by your testimony, I applaud you, and I am inspired by your faith in the “Hound of Heaven.”  Thank you for this very important post.

[210] Posted by Lori on 03-12-2007 at 09:29 PM • top

Episcopalienated, that actually brought a tear to my eye.  May God bless you for your faithfulness and soundness of heart.  You are an inspiration to all who struggle to overcome sin in our lives.  The love of Christ is indeed alive in you.

[211] Posted by Jeffersonian on 03-12-2007 at 09:41 PM • top

Drdanfee, reduced, your argument is: (1) The Bible references the “gathering the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth”; (2) the earth does not physically have four corners; and (3) the Bible is thus unreliable on issues of sexual morality.

I wish every Episcopal Bishop and Priest would lay out the “progressive” position to its parishioners with the same candor. 

Episcopalienated, what a remarkable Testament.

Respectfully,

“Flat Earth” Timothy

[212] Posted by Going Home on 03-12-2007 at 09:55 PM • top

Grace17033,
You are correct when you say “It’s to God that we’re all individually accountable,” and specifically to Jesus Christ, who “will come to judge the quick and the dead.”

It is the Church, which is Christ’s body on earth, to which we must be accountable on earth. The Church does teach, and has always taught, that sexual activity outside the marriage of a man and a woman is sinful.  Any institution teaching the contrary is not the Church.

Fr Matt is not proposing to act based on his “personal interpretation of Scripture in this issue,” but on the teachings of the Church that he is bound by his ordination vow to uphold.

You say: “I guess I can understand if a person is deliberately and knowingly living in some kind of notorious sin.”

The sin to which we are referring here is one that St Paul stated would bar someone from entering the kingdom of heaven. I would call that about as notorious as it gets.

“But, I just can’t see any benefit in witholding the Lord’s supper from a sincere Christian believer who may not agree with your interpretation of Scripture in this issue, Fr. Matt. What will be accomplished in this?”

Again, it is not Fr Matt’s interpretation, it is the unequivocal teaching of the Church. One must question the extent to which a person may be described as a “sincere Christian believer” if that person refused to accept the teachings of the Church.

“A priest is only human. How can he/she look into someone’s life, and know with certainty if someone should receive the sacrament or not.”

We are referring to a specific case here—the deliberate political statement of the Rainbow Warrior. The assumption is that anyone making that statement by what he wears to Mass has already examined his heart. Yet even there, Fr Matt would give that person the opportunity to clarify his stand by stepping away.

[213] Posted by albion on 03-13-2007 at 04:25 AM • top

Dear Episcopalienated,

Thank you for your very moving and inspiring testimony.

I would very much appreciate your permission to share it on my blog, The Continuum (http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com).

Thank you,
Albion Land

[214] Posted by albion on 03-13-2007 at 04:31 AM • top

Regarding Episcopalienated’s post,
The post was a beautiful one, describing E’s personal struggle with the sin that “so easily entangles” him, but one could also use his testimony for encouragement with any struggle against any sin.  And that’s what we orthodox continue and continue to try to say…the sin of acting on one’s homosexuality is no worse than any other sin.  All sin must be handed off to the Lord for him to repair in His own way. 

The church should be in the business of helping us see own sins and helping us know the One who can deliver us from them.  The church should not be in the business of blessing our sins and obscuring the One who can heal us.  Our God is Not too small!

[215] Posted by more martha than mary on 03-13-2007 at 05:55 AM • top

Episcopalienated, AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!  That could be nearly my identical story once my particular temptation(s) are substituted for yours.  Scripture says that it is the same for every believer.  St. Paul continued to struggle with his “old man” even after his conversion (Romans Ch. 5, I think).  I lean with all my weight on God’s grace every day that He had Paul speak to us in 1 Cor. 10:13, and I will need to until I die and am finally, totally re-made in the plan God imagined for me before the Fall in Eternity past, before He had made the first speck of dust or ray of light.  Thank you for fresh encouragement for this brother in Jesus Christ who probably will not meet you before the other side,  but certainly then in the absolute assurance of God!

[216] Posted by Milton on 03-13-2007 at 07:11 AM • top

Dearest Episcopalienated,

Thank you for your testimony. Your obvious love, and committment to our Lord comes through so strongly. God continue to bless your life in everyway. All of us need to live our lives in a manner that we feel is right and pleasing to God. If you sincerely feel that the Lord is calling you to celibacy, I am not about to try and say otherwise. And, the Scripture clearly teaches that if we even think something to be sin, than for us to be involved in that thing would become harmful, and a real stumbling block in our lives, and to our faith.

But, Episcopalienated, and everyone here, there are certainly Christian people who love the Lord, and who accept the authority of God’s Word who do not feel that the Scripture is even addressing the issue of sexual orientation, and who disagree with the traditionalist interpretation of the Scripture in this matter.

Would we withold communion from folks who disagreed with a traditionalist interpretation relating to the ordination of women, or in this issue of divorce and remarriage in the church?( I am sure you must all be sincere in feeling this is the right thing to do, but I surely can’t see it.)

Also, friends, I am Lutheran. I don’t even agree with this teaching that certain catagories of sin can damm a Christian believer. I think that there is nothing that can seperate us as Christians from the love of God in Christ Jesus. I am not suggesting this in a way to mean that God doesn’t care how we live, or to advocate “cheap grace.”

But, I feel so strongly that all of our “salvation” is a gift from God, and not something that we can earn by human effort, merit, or by abstaining from certain “sins.”

I love the words of that old hymn.

“Nothing in my hand I bring. Only to your cross I cling.”

Thanks for listening, and God bless!!

[217] Posted by Grace17033 on 03-13-2007 at 07:16 AM • top

Grace17033 said

But, I feel so strongly that all of our “salvation” is a gift from God, and not something that we can earn by human effort, merit, or by abstaining from certain “sins.”
I love the words of that old hymn.
“Nothing in my hand I bring. Only to your cross I cling.”

I don’t think we can earn our salvation either, Grace, and I don’t think people here are advocating that.  However, it is in clinging to the cross that our sins are revealed.  Subsequently in gratitude for the grace bestowed, “while we were yet sinners,” we do not wish to sin anymore.  Certainly we all fall short, but we really do strive for amendment of life, not out of duty, but out of gratitude.  We want to please God, not look for a loophole in order to hold on to our particular “precious”.

[218] Posted by more martha than mary on 03-13-2007 at 07:51 AM • top

Grace,

You didn’t finish the hymn.

be of sin the double cure;
cleanse me from it’s guilt and power

Those lines repeat at the end of the last three verses point to the transformation power of the Cross. No where is salvation by grace through faith made more throughly than the book of Romans where St. Paul spend the first five chapters proving its necessity, then the next about law sin & grace in balanced, finally in chapter 12 we are given something to do, be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

First grace then a new transformed life abstaining from sin.

That’s the double cure!

[219] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-13-2007 at 08:03 AM • top

Amen, Martha, I agree with every word out of your mouth. But, also what I’ve been trying to share is that there are truly many sincere, Christian people who very much want to honor God with their lives who do not feel that the Scripture is addressing the issue of sexual orientation or gay people who are involved in committed, loving relationships.

By wearing the rainbow insignia on Easter morning, their intent is to show love and support for these folks. It is not to be involved in willful sin and disobedience to the Lord. or somehow to disrespect the risen Christ.

Are you able to see what I’m saying?

[220] Posted by Grace17033 on 03-13-2007 at 08:07 AM • top

Absolutely, Hosea. Praise God for the “double cure.” But, see my above post. smile

[221] Posted by Grace17033 on 03-13-2007 at 08:10 AM • top

Grace,
I just don’t get the point. ‘Rainbow Warriors’ are planning to use Easter Sunday, in church, as a time and place for political protest. It is flat-out inappropriate, rude, and disrespectful—leaving out the spiritual connotations. I’m Irish and my ancestors were Confederates; talk about persecuted people these days. Do I wear a grey uniform to church on March 17 evening service to commemorate Pat Cleburne’s birthday?  Would it be appropriate for ‘peace-and-justice’ folks to stage a sit-in at the altar on Easter Sunday? The rainbow wearing will entertain the already-committed but will certainly p*** off the pew potatoes, so besides being inappropriate, rude and disrespectful, it is politically stupid. BTW, I agree with Fr. Kennedy and wish this was true EVERY Sunday: if you are living in notorious violation of Scripture and Church teachings, you should not be allowed to recieve.

[222] Posted by RichardP on 03-13-2007 at 08:21 AM • top

Grace,

While I can hear what you are saying, I disagree with the premise. Those wearing rainbow symbols on Easter morning may intend the message to be support for gays and lesbians. However, we must always be careful that the message we intend to send is the same as the message received.

In this case , regardless of your good intentions, the message received by many on Easter morning is that those wearing rainbow symbols are sinning, and intend to continue sinning, and intend to be as in-your-face with sinning as loudly and as visibly as possible.

Given the divisiveness of this issue, the result will be further hard feelings and hardening of hearts. If hardening of hearts is the goal, then have it. If peace and understanding is the goal, this approach will not achieve it.

Best,

Bill

[223] Posted by BillS on 03-13-2007 at 08:31 AM • top

Well then Grace, would you agree then that there is power for sexual orientation (which is not addressed in Scripture) to refrain from acting it out (which is addressed in Scripture). That’s the crux of the matter, not if someone struggles with a same sex attraction but what they do with it. I struggle with opposite gender attraction, actually I find many other single sometimes not single ladies quite attractive. Granted, Matt wrote a piece about this often over look “oppressed” group, but still Scripture has called me to set of standards as well. That is the double cure. I’m save by grace and given the grace to refrain from doing that which the Lord forbids.  grin

[224] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-13-2007 at 08:31 AM • top

Thanks for reading, Moot, and I might just as easily have sincerely written to Daryl and about him: Surely we all pray the best for him.

Then naturally one or more conservative believers could readily have responded that any mention I might make of prayer was facetious and ill-mannered, since I am essentially defined and described by the simple and definitive equation, progressive believer=pagan, according to so many instances of conservative belief.

Oh well. Talking across key differences is never going to be an easy pasttime.

And yes, surely we all do pray the best for Daryl and for all the people whose stories are told on the Zacheus web site.  Ditto, for all the people whose alternative stores of Coming Out are being told, and have already been told, in all the other settings in world and church where those people are also cherished.

[225] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 11:27 AM • top

Continuing the conversation that left off here:

The Pharisees went after Jesus and his disciples for doing that which scripture (the Law) forbade, and the laws they harped on always had to do with issues of purity and defilement.  Jesus’ response reminds them that there are higher principles, higher laws, and it is those that he obeys. Jesus did not use scripture as a “gotcha.”  He scolded those who did.  We should pay attention to this.

If you one pays attention to Jesus, one notes that he had very little to say on the subject of “sins of the flesh,” and what little he did say on that subject was either in response to questions from others or to make the point that *no one* is free from sin because sins (his examples are adultery and murder) occur in the mind (his examples are lust and anger), all of which makes the larger point that no one is in a position to judge, much less condemn, another.  This was very important to Jesus.  It should be equally important to us. 

One also notices that he speaks *often*, and without prompting from his audience, about the sin of judging others.  This is one of his major themes: it is very, very important to him. It should be equally important to us. 

If we continue to pay attention, we see that Jesus did not exclude anyone and that his “woe unto you” rants were directed at religious authorities who set themselves up as moral judges of others and thought they could be justified in excluding others.  Judging and excluding are absolutely contrary to the word and witness of Jesus.  I repeat:  judging and excluding are absolutely contrary to the word and witness of Jesus.

If we can hold our attention a little longer, we cannot help but note that Jesus not only asked us not to judge one another, but he asked us to love one another.  He asked us to love our enemies.  He said we will ultimately be judged by how we treat others, and he wasn’t referring to our families and friends, but, rather, “the least of these,”  the outcasts, people not esteemed by society.

Reading the Gospels attentively reveals that Jesus did not come here to talk about sex.  He evinced no interested in sex.  It is humans who are so very, very fascinated with all things sexual, and it is humans who use it to torment and control their fellow human beings.  If there is a perversion in all of this, it is in our very human obsession with sex.  There is so much more to human life than sex.  So. much. more.

As a celibate heterosexual, I can attest to the liberating effect of celibacy when granted as a gift from God, and I can assure you that the positive effects have nothing whatsoever to do with the purity of my genitals, nor does celibacy make me any less a “sinner” than anyone else.  It does not, and I am not.  What it has done, over the years, is to free my heart, and my heart’s energies, to love more broadly, more inclusively, and more selflessly.  This gift was given to me for edification and a specific kind of spiritual growth.  But I sin in a thousand other ways by not *always* loving God with every ounce of my being and not *always* loving my neighbor as myself.  There is no escaping sin here on earth.  None of us escape it; it is pervasive. 

The real conversation here is not about “sex,” and it’s not about “sin.”  It’s about that which separates us from others,  judgmentalism, and that which unites us with others:  love.  And deeply entwined in these two is pride:  the pride that places the self above the other, that targets and gossips about and obsesses on and ultimately excludes the other for his “sin,” and the pride that shatters (or should shatter) when we look to the ever-present beam in our own eye, the pride that melts (or should melt) down to nothing when we learn to love others as ourselves.  Very leveling, that.

It is natural, and easy, and cheap to create hierarchies with ourselves and our friends on top, and others below.  And it is natural, and easy, and cheap to mistreat, even subtly, those we place below ourselves.  It is natural and easy and cheap because it derives from the lowest and meanest part of the animal self, or, as C.S. Lewis, termed it, the Diabolical Self.  It is the greatest temptation, far greater than sex.  It is not the way of Jesus.

[226] Posted by essef on 03-13-2007 at 11:50 AM • top

Hi oscewicee, yes the shift is undeniably cultural. 

But deeper than that, it is a deep change in our preverbal and nonverbal frames for perception.  In this case, causes and effects.  Reading scripture as faithfully and rationally as it could, the Middle Ages understood a variety of causes and effects in our cosmos and in our selves and in our communities.  Some of these were understood as natural to an extent, especially insofar as Nature herself could be understood as a whole creature as was humanity; but the additional frames of sheer divine causation were always the foundations of such layers of natural causes and effects.  Appropriating what history reveals as mainly Greek approaches, all change and decay and fragility in our cosmos and in our bodies was presumed, ahead of time, to be a divinely ordained effect of Original Sin.

The first empirical crisis more or less involved Ptolemaic Cosmology, both read in natural observations and read in scripture.  The empirical revolutions that began with Galileo and Copernicus and Bruno did correct the details, but even deeper than that they overturned the whole paradigm of Ptolemaic Cosmology.  Inevitably as it was practiced and understood in its own centuries of vitality, this Ptolemaic Cosmology represented a way of reading Nature and a way of reading scripture, simultaneously. 

My point about the New Biology is just that this revolution is ongoing.  What was overturned in Galileo and Copernicus and Bruno was sufficient a crisis in facts and in belief at the time.  But this next wave of information, facts, and new models is going to flood out in application to domains that are much closer to us than just our preconceived Ptolemaic notions of earth and sun and stars revolving.  We are going to see apple carts of belief and limited understandings of nature and of ourselves, humanity, radically revised and corrected if not overturned all together.

The predictable reaction to this new information, intellectually, will be to define two separate categorical domains, an earthly one, and a separate divine one.  Then it is easy for a while to let science and technology proceed apace in the separate earthly category.  While the divine understanding proceeds apace in its own self-contained category of revelation.  This seems to solve the intellectual problems by defining a categorical gap between Nature and God or gospel, ahead of all particulars.  This gap accords with our sense that the finite and the infinite, the earthly and the heavenly, are categorically different from one another.

All seems well for a time, though the destabilizing intellectual impact of new data constantly flooding out must still be managed, beneath the high grounds of the categories separated.  One management tool is to ignore what is happening in the earthly sciences while one blithely continues to preach the revelation.  This is okay, say, until some new piece of science or tech emerges that dramatically changes a contested domain in morality or theology. 

Imagine what will happen to classical Roman Catholic theology concerning sex and reproduction, say, if and when - and all current empirical signs now piont to an eventual, when - humans achieve even better control over their reproductive capacities, say down to the genetic level? 

At first the Vatican will preach, Just say no.  As it is preaching now. 

Then, as more and more people get involved in one way or another with the new powers of a particularly new and effective undrstanding of cause and effect, Just say no strategies will begin to be beside the point.  Inevitably, people using the new science will apply ethical and religious ways of weighing its goods and its bads, along with settling on working guidelines for tilting towards the best uses and avoiding the worst.  No matter what the Vatican has been saying about Just Say No.

At some later point in all that, often much later - it took centuries for Ptolemaic Cosmology to fade from our radar screens - what the church believes on the ground simply shifts and changes invisibly.  No Vatican preaching now asserts flat earth cosmology, though if you go back to read history, that was hardly the case in the ages of those discoveries.  Something similar has happened to the great historical institutions of slavery, all across human civilization, though from an ancient point of view, slavery was a given.  Our modern juries are still out, it seems, concerning racial and ethnic prejudices and discriminations.  We pledge to do without them, but we still practice them in many instances.

If you are young enough to be alive over the next forty to fifty years, stay tuned.  Amazingly wonderful and amazingly awful things are really going to become possible in our New Biology.  The Two Separate Categories and Just Say No approaches will hardly be able to cope.  Just my best, educated guess.

[227] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 12:01 PM • top

Grace,

If a group of Arians or Marcions or Mormons or JW’s were to identify themselves as such in my parish and wear armbands notifying the congregation of the same, be assured I would follow the same proceedure above.

They would be given, just as the rainbow warriors, an opportunity to explain why they are wearing the armbands, but if it turns out that they are fully committed to moral rebellion and heretical doctrine, they will not recieve from me.

The fact is that this is not simply a matter over which two may disagree. This is absolutely clear. The classic teaching is established both in scripture and tradition. The burden of proof is not on the orthodox to prove classic teaching, but on the heretics to overthrow it. So far even their best exegetes, Countryman, Winks, et al have fallen far short of the mark.  The two teachings are not equally valid.

You speak as if all anyone has to do is publicly teach false doctrine and make a counter claim to classic Christian teaching and immediately whatever they say is granted equal or normative status. No way. Those presenting the new gospel must demonstrate how it is in fact consistent with the faith as it has been handed down by the apostles and the prophets. Even you must admit that in the face of the unanimous past and present teaching of Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed/evangelical and, yes, even Anglican branches of Christianity and the uniform rejection of this new gospel that this burden has not been met.

So no. It is not just my opinion against theirs. It is the Word of God and the teaching of the church against a satanic lie that will end in leading people away from the very repentance required for salvation.

So, in view of the immortal nature of souls, there is no way while I have breath in my lungs that I will commune a heretic or an open and public supporter of heretics who, together, lead souls away from Christ and into the darkness

[228] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-13-2007 at 12:13 PM • top

Appropriating what history reveals as mainly Greek approaches, all change and decay and fragility in our cosmos and in our bodies was presumed, ahead of time, to be a divinely ordained effect of Original Sin.

This is, of course, sheer nonsense.  One of the differences between Medieval Christian thought, pagan Platonic philosophy, and Gnostic heresy was that, for Medieval Christians, there was no association between change and the fall into sin.  Medievals associated changed, decay, and fragility with the created order as such, not with the fall.  The created order, because it was created freely by God, was utterly and completely contingent.  Far from being a mark of the fall or sin, created change and contingency pointed to the creation’s absolute dependence on and orientation to its Creator

[229] Posted by William Witt on 03-13-2007 at 12:17 PM • top

Hello Carol, yes one may juxtapose Daryl’s story and, say, a story of an Out/Partnered/Parenting gay couple.  Then one may further presume that the discernment task must comprehensively be that of telling good from evil.

As easy a shooting fish in a barrel?  (Which in reality might not be as easy as the folk saying goes.)

One may also decide that one cannot immediately tell for sure.  Daryl and those who cherish him may tell us they are happy at being challenged to lead a good life, and presumably we could observe them leading good daily lives of honesty, service, care, and praise.  The Out/Partnered/Parenting couple may also tell us they are happy at being challenged to lead a good life.  Presumably we could also observe them leading a good daily life of honesty, service, care, and praise.

So we might decide we should stay as open as possible, though of course quick closure would be much easier and much clearer and more automatically consistent with our legacy in ethics, religion, and social practice. That is, being Out/Partnered/Parenting is evil, and nothing but according to our religious legacy.  Full stop. Period.  No further questions need to be asked.

As we contemplate the staying open option, we might note that, so far as civil society goes, the Out/Partnered/Parenting couple are less and less frequently criminalized.  Or even very socially ostracized nowadays in many different circles or social settings.  To that limited extent, they might not be doing such a great evil that they must be put in prison or strictly shunned for living as they are living.  Noting the social openness may give us more reason to pause, as we consider whether or not we can watch this social experiment as it unfolds.  We can even deliberately befriend the Out/Partnered/Parenting couple, up close and personal, to quietly test out the ups and downs of their real daily lives.

We might find that they are horrible monsters, God forbid, who mistreat their children, act like the straight couple in Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virgina Wolf, and try to sell us some silly scheme for buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

We might find that they are wonderful citizens, who might even be doing somewhat better than we are currently doing in some important area of life - i.e., in honesty, service, care, or praise.

We might find that they are a mixed bag.  Goods and struggles with bad.  Ups and downs.  Growth and setbacks.  Quite a bit like we might be, actually.

A scriptural model of staying open and observant is, among other witness, Gamaliel’s speech to the Sanhedrin authorities in Acts, NT.

[230] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 12:20 PM • top

Thanks Witt, will look into it. Maybe I have been reading books which omit your documentation.  Always good to learn more.

[231] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 12:24 PM • top

Hi Fr. Matt, given your firm conservative beliefs I would expect you to appreciate what the alternative believers are doing for your gospel, in a backhanded way of course.  What better lesson than to see the daily life results of openly and honestly living according to one or more non-conservative religious or secular centers of value or faith?

Surely, in such a public demonstration, you should be able to make substantial headway in demonstrating that your way trumps all others.  Policing included.

Come to think of it, maybe that is just what is happening in some of our current hot button controversies.

Meanwhile, the rest of the hot buttons lesson asks us how to live differently in peace and a measure of goodwill - even from some carefully calculated distances? - yes, tolerance and inclusion and justice, even if we only construe these according to secular authorities?

[232] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 12:30 PM • top

Wow essef, thanks loads.  I take your words as part of my thoughts for the day.  And the real rhetorical point of the much mis-used first chapter of Romans, NT, which culminates in the second chapter: Do not judge.  Wow.  I am ever learning that lesson of ups and down.

[233] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 12:35 PM • top

Drdanfee

While you theory is interesting to read I’ve chatted a bit with Daryl and that along with his posts on VOL lead me to say that I doubt seriously that he would agree with you. In fact your juxtaposition has a basic flaw in that you cannot compare these two totally opposed situations. At the root of it all to begin with is unrepentant sin.

[234] Posted by Marlin on 03-13-2007 at 12:45 PM • top

Matt—why? These are fair questions. I believe you are confusing being “soft headed” with being “soft hearted”.

Has he voted for the homosexual agenda in the Episcopal Church? He may be claiming to be celebrate but he is saying his “sexual orientation is fixed. That is a lie!!
He can change with the will to do so. That is proven—and he as much as admitted it. He wants his cake and eat it too. A celebrate homosexual “with his nose under the tent” saying “God loves me—so you should too!” 
Where does he stand on the questions I posed? Since you had enough gumption to write me, I suggest you ask him to answer the questions. If he is sincere he will say what he thinks.

The Episcopal Church is filled with his types—and you confirm the great problem in TEC that while you fall for his line you have lost your church to the homosexuals.

If his testimony is sincere—he can answer those critical questions I posed.

And if you don’t like this reply, then you can exclude me from your web site. That will show me where you really stand!

[235] Posted by otispage on 03-13-2007 at 01:00 PM • top

Hi FE Timothy, once again I must thank you for accurately noting my approach.  I do still think the Copernican revolution is/was a foundational lesson in hermeneutics.  However, as posting limitations go, let me mention the intervening steps which your summary leaves out, thus giving an over-simplified impression. 

One does not simply go from the disconfirmation of Ptolemaic flat earth models, to the facile disconfirmation of the ways we have been reading scripture to negatively define sexual orientation variances.  In between, one does maybe several other key human and evidentiary things.  These probably vary quite a bit, depending on real people, real situations, and real family and social life in different places. 

Three common intervening phenomenological and methodological steps might probably include: (A) Knowing Out/Partnered/Parenting queer folks, and believers, up close and personal in one’s own extended family, workplace, and/or parish.  Plus maybe (B) reading the rather extensive disconfirmation data literatures, published for the most part in the peer reviewed journals.  Plus maybe (C) letting oneself for testing purposes provisionally sit inside the competing and alternative paradigms, not just intellectually but also emotionally and existentially and sincerely as a way of gathering what science philosopher Polanyi might call, tacit knowledge, before eventually shuttling back to one’s home places.

We might, maybe, perhaps also add a fourth marker or touchstone.  Many believers who have ended up changing their minds have spoken eloquently of it, as Gray Temple does in his book.  This would be (D) -1: admitting to oneself, to God, and probably to other people as well, that one seriously and sincerely doesn’t know what to make of the Out/Partnered/Parenting queer stuff, plus (D) -2 humbly asking God over time to show you if you happen to be wrong in this matter, and along with praying that if you are wrong in some point, God will lead and guide you into correcting any errors or mistakes of understanding.

Without mention of these interventing steps, the jump seems way too facile, way too wide, and perhaps incomprehensible.

Your characterization of the last step is also maybe a tad misleading, as it reads maybe to suggest that one therefore concludes with a complete gutting of all possible scriptural authority.  That is way too facile a summary.  What one ends with is more nuanced and more methodologically careful preparedness for reading scripture.  Something more like the linked summary of progressive believers hermeneutics.

At:
http://www.tcpc.org/library/article.cfm?library_id=360

Nevertheless, thanks for reading with a good clear eye.

[236] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 01:16 PM • top

Dear Episocpalienated, thanks for your blessing prayer.  Your honest witness is wonderful.  I walk that other path called Coming Out, getting Partnered, and Parenting. It too has been a challenging time of letting God form and reform me in my daily life and relationships.  In light of Fr. Matt and others here, let me acknowledge that we will hardly cross paths via the coming institutions of the Anglican Communion.  So again thanks from the other sides of our widening social distances which realignment seeks to gain for us as people walking different pathways in life, church, work, and world.  The planet functionally shrinks, pulling one way.  The communion divides, pulling another.  We live in very interesting times.

[237] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 01:28 PM • top

The answer is compassion, Otis, not passion. I am as passionate as you about what is going on in TEC. The twisting of scripture to support the GLBT agenda, and if they can’t twist it enough they outright reject it saying it isn’t applicable any more because of secular values.

We can’t determine if episcopalienated is telling the truth or not. I would rather err on the side of compassion. It’s not really important in this case anyway, our response is. Our responses show what we are made of.

If it is the truth then perhaps lack of such compassion is the reason he hasn’t taken the “big step”. If a person is trying to cast off such a yoke, you help him, not give him the 3rd degree. This will get you nowhere if you are trying to help.

[238] Posted by Marlin on 03-13-2007 at 01:34 PM • top

This discussion has given me an opportunity to reflect on what I should say if confronted by someone with the rainbow insignia. I have decided that I will not respond in kind to anyone who appears in rainbow insignia on Easter day. I know they wish to have a newsworthy confrontation and it would be easy to ignore them, but since we do have the admonition to “love our neighbor”, I hope I will be prepared to say this: I believe in Jesus Resurrection as portrayed by Scripture, please don’t try to change the focus of this Easter day - this is His day not yours.

I realize this may not be an adequate response, but I hope it would at least let them know, in a kind way, that they cannot claim me as one of their supporters and maybe they will reflect on their own misguided attempts to focus Easter day on them instead of Christ.

[239] Posted by Betty See on 03-13-2007 at 01:38 PM • top

Hi again jackie, well see you in the dentist waiting room then, LOL.

I do hear and understand your clear invitation to exit being Anglican.  I am indeed taking it quite seriously.  I have little - well, truthfully, no - wish to outstay my welcome, which for the long time being must also include my Partner/Parenting being welcome too, as these are some of my major life commitments.  I wouldn’t expect you to join me much in nourshing my Partner will all the, admittedly human and fallible, resources I can manage.  Nor do I suspect that you would be all that willing to nurture any children I parent.  I judge my Partner able to cope and defend himself, but I must admit I am a bit more protective about children.

My effective exit awaits the large picture in TEC and in the worldwide communion.  Fact is, though I am quite clear on where you stand firm, there are many alternative provinces and parishes of both TEC and the world communion where my invitation to exit is not yet so clear and unequivocal.  As we all know, these realignment things may shift quickly or slowly or even not very much at all.

So I stay tuned, but traveling bags packed.  Thankfully, there are at least four other gay positive congregations within a ten block radius of my current home, plus oddly enough a variety of interfaith venues where I have shared our Anglican struggles and been told I am welcome even though I follow Jesus.  Even the Dalai Lama has joined in this interfaith chorus of encouragement to follow Jesus, imagine that.

I think the OT phrase would be something like, Jehovah-jireh.

[240] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 01:41 PM • top

otis,

You are making incredibly uncharitable assumptions about a brother who quite agrees that homosexual behavior is a sin and that. Why even assume that he would support the homosexual agenda?

I will not ask him those questions because as I said I believe they are irrelevant. Whether or not he thinks orientation is fixed has absolutely nothing to do with whether he is an orthodox believer. I think orientation is fixed. It is fixed in the same way that certain aspects of my sinful nature will never be defeated until I am in glory.

You are loading burdens far and above beyond what is warrented in the scriptures.

[241] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-13-2007 at 01:49 PM • top

Hello Marlin, yes we have an unresolved dilemma.  For the time being.  Daryl’s path need not include any affirmation of mine at all, as to my being an Out/Partnered/Parenting person.  An obvious stand firm sort of thing, no?

That might be the end of thinking or feeling further for Daryl and/or for you.  I do not necessarily pause or stop at just that point, because I am allowed to walk further into thinking about what my response might and should be to Daryl.  I am glad to find that my alternative path does not require me to interfere with Daryl or wish or pray him any ill whatsoever.  Given how pitched these hot button differences get, that is a blessing from my side of the great divides.

[242] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 01:52 PM • top

So, it sounds to me as though the reappraisers want us to have experiential knowledge of the samesex agenda—to “listen” to it, to experiment inside it—and then to judge, when we are more deeply implicated?  We should all remember the words of the poet Alexander Pope (“Essay on Man”):

VICE is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first ENDURE, then PITY, then EMBRACE.

This is the very sequence that you are recommending; this is the “listening process” of the reappraisers—and this is exactly what has happened to them.  But vice is still vice, except to the deconstructors who claim there is no real standard of truth and morals, not even the Scriptures of the faith.  We can not accept that; it is to negate our faith; that way lies nihilism and eternal loss.

[243] Posted by Paula on 03-13-2007 at 01:53 PM • top

btw, otis

First, it is not my website.

Second, you are more than welcome on this website, so long as you follow the well documented rules, even if I don’t like your reply. But if you are going to speak so uncharitably, as you have been, you must also be prepared for a fight.

[244] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-13-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

To episcopalianated: dear brother in Christ, I welcome your testimony and applaud you for publishing it to us.  It is easy to see the Lord in the things that you say.  May he bless you richly.

[245] Posted by Paula on 03-13-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

“Uncharitably, Matt? I suggest you elicit answers to my inquiry. You use the language of “fight”, where are you coming from? An attitude of love?  Give me answers, not a threat of a fight.

What is your involvement with this website?

[246] Posted by otispage on 03-13-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

Otis,

As I said, I will not re-pose your questions. You have posted them yourself. If he feels like answering he has every right to do so but biblically speaking he has no need to answer. Your questions and the assumptions underlying them are legalistic in the true sense of the word. 

As for a fight, you have obviously come with a chip on your shoulder. That’s fine, so long as you abide the rules, but don’t be suprised about the reaction you have recieved.

Greg Griffith is the editor. I am a contributor with editing priveleges.

[247] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-13-2007 at 02:15 PM • top

But, Fr. Matt, I don’t see this as a “new gospel” at all. There is only one gospel, that Jesus died for our sins, that He was buried, and rose again for our justification.

Sects such as the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, even the ancient Arians have among other things denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the work of the cross. To me, this is a completely different matter altogether.  This sexuality issue has more to do with the manner of life God expects us to live as Christian believers. I just see this as a honest difference in interpretation of the Scripture among Christians along the same lines as the differences in the church relating to the role and ordination women or the issue of divorce and remarriage.

I’m certainly not advocating the acceptance of heresy in the church, or the preaching of another gospel.

God have mercy!!

[248] Posted by Grace17033 on 03-13-2007 at 02:17 PM • top

Hello Paula, since this queer folks stuff is such a hot button issue, let’s not escalate too quickly.  My transitional step (C) is nothing more nor less than the sorts of provisional test habitation that most alternative perspectives, models, or points of view would be given in any top notch university or medical school setting, so far as partly evaluating a new, unexpected, and innovating piece of data or treatment procedure.

The point is not to obscure or dull one’s critial powers, but to inform one’s critical powers.  Then one returns to the legacy home bases better able to weigh, investigate, and consider whatever the new piece of data or procedure claims to be.

This loops back into step (B) since it is in the peer reviewed literatures where just such careful, double-blind testing of hypotheses have taken place and been reported.

Again, the point is to diligently fill out one’s critical and investigation powers, not dull or diminish them.  The point is typically not to find the single, one and only empirical hypothesis test that weighs new things - though nobody automatically gives up all hope of doing the crucial experiment, but to engage the new thing across a variety of tests that have proved useful in past evaluations of new things.

Nevertheless, on a more mundane note, if your faith cannot support or survive hanging out and talking with Buddhists (or agnostics or progressive believers or queer folks or ???), you probably should refrain for the time being.  Walking one’s own immediate spiritual path is much more important in the long run, than adding in the testing steps, unless you are feeling called to sort out and walk somebody else’s path for them, then maybe you ought to test in order to be responsible as you try to tell them what to do and how and why to do it in their spiritual lives.

[249] Posted by drdanfee on 03-13-2007 at 02:37 PM • top

Otis— are you capable of making the sacrifice (lifelong celibacy) that episcopalienated is making in obedience to the Lord? How can you heap such scorn on someone who is following such a difficult path? 

How can you possibly compare him with someone who insists that gay sex is blessed by the Lord, or even that it is a special gift from God?

That some gay people have changed (a fact he acknowledges and rejoices in) is not “proof” that all can change.  He believes that he has been called out of a sinful life and into holy celibacy—this is enough for the Lord, and should be enough for you, too.  He bears his heavy cross with rejoicing—let us thank God for such a brother-in-Christ, and strive to follow his example.

[250] Posted by In Newark on 03-13-2007 at 02:45 PM • top

drdan,

Not all drs. are reappraisers and deconstructionists.  I certainly do not agree with you that the matters that concern our salvation and morality should be subject to “provisional test habitation that most alternative perspectives, models, or points of view would be given in any top notch university or medical school setting”—or to “the peer reviewed literatures where just such careful, double-blind testing of hypotheses have taken place and been reported.” I do not believe that we should be characterized by our sexuality, and I wish we would hear more about celibacy and the beauty of holiness.  (No test-tube process can take one jot from their value.)  And yet it is possible that our degrees are as good as yours and our publications as well-known. 

Dr. Paula

[251] Posted by Paula on 03-13-2007 at 03:40 PM • top

Indeed, Dr Paula, you are correct.  We have seen to much of falsified data in many “scientific” studies to accept all studies as true (embryonic stem cell claims, anyone?).  But all truth is not scientific or materialistic.  That truth which is should be established by appropriate methodologies and vetted by peers.  A lot of what passes for the same in church circles is “scientism” - a dumbed down popular conception unrelated to real science but sought as “proof” of one’s prior opinions or choices.

[252] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-13-2007 at 04:16 PM • top

Earlier today, essef said:

One also notices that he speaks *often*, and without prompting from his audience, about the sin of judging others.  This is one of his major themes: it is very, very important to him. It should be equally important to us.

If we continue to pay attention, we see that Jesus did not exclude anyone and that his “woe unto you” rants were directed at religious authorities who set themselves up as moral judges of others and thought they could be justified in excluding others.  Judging and excluding are absolutely contrary to the word and witness of Jesus.  I repeat:  judging and excluding are absolutely contrary to the word and witness of Jesus.

I don’t agree with the premise that we can not talk about what is sinful and what is not.  Some people misinterpret calling certain behavior sinful as being judgmental, when it’s judging the behavior, not the person.

It seems to me that Jesus certainly did judge people’s behavior.  To the woman caught in adultery, he scattered the crowd, forgave her sins, and told her to sin no more.  He had choice words for others, as well.  He forgave sins - to do that you judge that someone has sins that need to be forgiven.

When I die, I will certainly have to throw myself at Jesus’ feet and plead for mercy, for I am indeed a sinner.  Part of living our lives is to try to identify the sin in our lives and stop.  Going to church is more about repentance and working out our salvation than it is about being accepted with open arms while wallowing in our sinfulness.

[253] Posted by Paul B on 03-13-2007 at 04:28 PM • top

Thanks for reading, Moot,

You’re welcome. 

and I might just as easily have sincerely written to Daryl and about him: Surely we all pray the best for him.

Writing to Daryl would be a good idea for you, I agree. 

Then naturally one or more conservative believers could readily have responded that any mention I might make of prayer was facetious and ill-mannered

Actually, you mentioned <>wishes</i>, which are not the same as prayers.  I think your exact words were, “One can only wish him the best.” 

This is what you say to a young person who has just graduated high school or college. 

Wishes aren’t prayers. 

, since I am essentially defined and described by the simple and definitive equation, progressive believer=pagan, according to so many instances of conservative belief.

Nope.  That would be degrading to pagans who had lived and perished before you and I were even in diapers.  C.S. Lewis pointed out once that after pagan societies are converted to The Gospel, they cannot truly ever go back to being pagans. 

Oh well. Talking across key differences is never going to be an easy pasttime.

As I alluded to earlier, it’s a temporary situation. 

And yes, surely we all do pray the best for Daryl and for all the people whose stories are told on the Zacheus web site.

The best?  You don’t have an inkling what that is, and you are praying to a god you’ve imagined, wishing a stranger, something that you can’t quite grasp, but are supposedly figuring out as you go?

Like I said, it’s a nice thought. 

Ditto, for all the people whose alternative stores of Coming Out are being told, and have already been told, in all the other settings in world and church where those people are also cherished.

You cherish Daryl no more than you cherish your ward, if you allowed him or her to stick their hand on a hot stove.  I’m sorry to say that, ddf, but this is not love in the least sense of the word.

[254] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-13-2007 at 04:29 PM • top

drdanfee - What I said was:

You go ahead and live your life believing anything you choose.  Just don’t try to impose it on the Anglican Church and we should do just fine.  Oh and for the record, dental hygiene was not a prohibition of God.

What you heard was

I do hear and understand your clear invitation to exit being Anglican.

So I must assume what you are saying is that unless the Anglican Church changes its thinking on the issue of non-celebate homosexuals, you will leave.  This is your privilege and choice.  Didn’t you say listening was what you did for a living?

[255] Posted by JackieB on 03-13-2007 at 04:45 PM • top

I don’t agree with the premise that we can not talk about what is sinful and what is not.  Some people misinterpret calling certain behavior sinful as being judgmental, when it’s judging the behavior, not the person.

Paul B, I didn’t say that we cannot talk about sin, and it certainly was not my premise.  In fact, my post was itself about sin—the serious sins of judgment and exclusion.  Yes, Jesus did make judgmental statements about behaviors, but he didn’t punish,  exclude, or condemn anyone. His judgments were attempts to instruct.  It is worth noting that his most frequent judgmental statements were to the Pharisees for their literal use of scriptural to judge others, their showy piety, their hypocrisy, and their setting themselves up as gate-keepers to the faith and to God, keeping “sinners” out. This infuriated Jesus.  His most obvious act of judgment was to the money-changers,  who were also keeping people (the poor) out of the temple, as well as defiling the Godly with the worldly.  As for the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus’ judgment in that passage was not on her, but rather on those who would judge and punish her, as their scripture said they could.  Jesus neither judged nor condemned the woman.  The point of the passage – and more importantly, the meaning of the passage—is found in Jesus’ decisive and surprising statement, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  The passage is not about the sin of adultery; it is about mortals casting judgment and punishment on other mortals (and it also has implications for Hebrew scripture). 

That is Jesus.  Jesus is allowed to judge.  God is allowed to judge.  But we are not Jesus; we are not God.  To you and me, Jesus said, simply, “Judge not.” We are not to judge, punish, or segregate people for their sins, because we are all sinners.  We must learn to live with the sins (or what we perceive to be sins) of others and to love them anyway.  Very hard to do, much harder than judging.

You say that “part of living our lives is to try to identify the sin in our lives and stop.”  Yes, we are responsible for our own sins.  Sin is anything that separates us from God, and if anything in our minds, hearts, and behavior is keeping us from God, we should do all we can to change it. But the point is not to become perfect specimens, but, rather, to bring ourselves into alignment with God. As Jesus pointed out, sin isn’t confined to our outward behavior; it is found in our thoughts, intentions, and hearts.  As for “throwing ourselves at Jesus’ feet and pleading for mercy” at death, it might be better to throw ourselves at his feet and plead for mercy daily or hourly or with every breath, for to God all hearts are open, all desires known, and from him no secrets are hid.  So he already knows everything.  And, amazingly enough, he loves us anyway.  His grace and mercy are greater than any of us deserve.  Our task, if we love him, is to return this love, to do whatever it takes to remain close to him, because that is the place where we are, right here on earth, at peace.

[256] Posted by essef on 03-13-2007 at 06:34 PM • top

Respectfully essef, this is the teaching of the Episcopal Church: “Every time we do the Eucharist, the priest says, ‘This is God’s table and all are welcome here,’ and that pretty much sums up how we feel here.” 

Here is the fraud being perpetuated by the Episcopal Church. It denies homosexuality is sin. (Rom. 1:26,27, Lev. 18:22, 20:13, 1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10, Gen. 19: 1-9, Judg. 19:22, 1 Kin. 14:24 and Jude 7)

Episcopalians defile the Eucharist when it invites sinners to take the cup without acknowledging their sin!

1Cor 11:27-29 states “Therefore whoever eats the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a person examine themselves …”

It is at God’s table the true Christian reconciles his or her sin with Jesus Christ. 

There is no pardon cited in Scripture for homosexuality. The sin of homosexuality is the first plank that proves “fixed Sexual Orientation” is a lie, that what is called an orientation is truly a serious sin-behavior that requires repentance if salvation is to be secured in Jesus Christ. (1John 1:6-10)

Homosexuals who claim to be Christian – such as those who dominate the Episcopal Church today – are not believers. They reject the testimony of Scripture and therefore reject Christ’ revelation to true believers.

This is the reason the Episcopal Church has turned from being a true Christian Church to an aberrant religious sect and why Episcopal parishes and dioceses are leaving to be associated with Anglican movements that honor the true intent of God’s table.

[257] Posted by otispage on 03-13-2007 at 07:00 PM • top

essef, 

Yes, I do acknowledge the need to plead for mercy each and every day.

I agree that we should not condemn anyone, but at the same time we are commissioned to spread the gospel and not lead anyone astray.

It seems to me that Jesus forgave sins and called people to holiness, and then told his apostles to do the same.  That sets up the model for the ordained to do that, doesn’t it? 

We make judgments about people all the time.  The person driving ahead of you makes several sudden stops for no reason or cuts cars off or whatever, you judge as dangerous and give a wide berth to.  The homeless person who approaches you on the street asking for money - most people judge to determine if he’s ‘truely’ deserving and not dangerous.

If those around us don’t call us to be more holy, how will it happen?

[258] Posted by Paul B on 03-13-2007 at 07:21 PM • top

Hmmm.  Jesus did teach against porneia, properly interpreted as sex - in general - outside of marriage.  Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21 (i.e., which is consistent with His affirmation of marriage between a man and a women).

For those who would characterise the Son of God and his instruction as being out of touch with modern science, well, if that is the approach, then the citations become irrelevant or, at best, secondary to such a world view.

Seems to me that a better plan is to step out in obedience, even if it doesn’t “make sense” from experience, and then see what God makes of that obedience.

[259] Posted by tired on 03-14-2007 at 08:02 AM • top

Hi again Jackie.  And Moot.

Wow.  Do I ever stand corrected and then some.  But that is the deeper point of this whole Anglican realignment business isn’t it?  Please allow me to congratulate you on your correctional rhetoric.

My immediate reaction was that I could hardly remember how much better I had ever been - how is it said? - hoist on my own petard?

All through being so expertly and sternly parsed, too.  Excellent.

If I were the teacher, which as you clearly and powerfully demonstrate I am decidedly not ever qualified to be, I would no doubt give Jackie special high marks for exposing my personal inferior listening abilities.  A green penned Very Good Point, Exclamation, in the margins of that page.

Anyway, if either of you ever wants to do it, I think you might have an alternate career path as a consultant for Tough Love.  People like you sure seems to have the moxy needed for Tough Love.

As Hemingway told a young reporter: Boy, all you need in life as a writer is a good crap detector.

In the first reply I found myself thinking: You go Jackie.  Now drag performers in the larger cities know something about crowd control, but really you are reaching right up there with the best.  Well, best - contextually, historically, and all that progressive academic yada yada yada.

As luck would have it here, however, your post was followed by Moot.  Wow, again:  I am really swimming with the Tough Love experts, I found myself thinking. 

Now thas what ahm talkin bout.

So, let me give your stern parsing of my words at least a solid seven on a one to ten scale.  I really do admire your consistent ability to let the air out of my progressive tires. 

And Moot, well surely a bit higher marks actually.  Say, an eight or even a nine or a nine point something. 

Who among us will not admire Moot’s virtuosity and deftness? – combining a sparkling modern classical allusion to C. S. Lewis with rating me a fouler sinner than the real ancient pagans?  Imagine that: the Roman Circus got nuttin on me, I guess, as an Out/Partnered/Parenting Un-realigned Half of Two Daddies. 

And the sheer brilliance of how Moot mentions my - ward – damning my parental custody by faint praise, yet leaving hidden space for just a homoerotic touch of cartoon resonance with Batman who had that ward Robin.  What a passing but beautifully orchestrated – even a profoundly velvety and resonating -  cymbal ting of scorn.

Spiced by a breathy flute’s note of darker, meaner sexual abuse motives for parenting.  Moot hints at so very much, and yet is so clever the comments do not have to come right out and say anything more explicit.

But wait, there is more. 

All that is followed by a simply heartless and searing image of a cruel and pitiless progressive believer holding a vulnerable child’s hand to the fire.  Wow, ouch, oowww.  What a climax. 

If Moot were diving from a high board, wouldn’t all that probably qualify as a three and a half gainer of true and amazing reply?

We are reaching towards the higher athletic new conservative faith leagues here, no doubt.  I cannot help thinking that either one of you two could certainly coach some of the Global South Primates in how to do stern parsing and correction, maybe especially of progressive believers.  Go for the gold.

All have won and all must have prizes in this Tough Love Festival, to riff on the Dodo in Lewis Carroll – (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who by all accounts was a nominally heterosexual pedophile Anglican priest, for what that’s worth.)  Fr. Matt’s denying communion to Rainbow Warriors is quite a good example if it inspires everyone so quickly to these heights.

Brava, Jackie.  Bravo, Moot.  (Apologies if I confused gender in passing.  We queer folks are frail-minded in just that area and less strict about that sort of thing.)

[260] Posted by drdanfee on 03-14-2007 at 07:47 PM • top

drdanfee:

What I find most curious about your reply is the absolute non-existence of any actual content.  That’s seriously amazing when you consider the size of it.

It seems to me, if you actually had a point to make or validate, you might have at least touched upon it during your post.  The lack of this and the complete focus on villifying and being disrespectful to others demonstrates the saliency and validity of your ideology much more than anything else that’s been said.

You might think about WHY you are so angry and WHY you cannot back up your own points.  It’d probably be a good idea.

[261] Posted by Eclipse on 03-14-2007 at 08:02 PM • top

Warning: snarky post to follow. Apologies.

But. With so many smart, clever writers here, on both/all sides of issues, the nasty ones really stand out. I just don’t think ‘troll’ is a good enough word. Trolls can be cute, you know. Now, along the line of words like ‘reintarnation: coming back to life as a hilbilly’, there ought to be a word to describe posters that wander all over the place, spilling venom but not saying anything. ‘Ignoranus’? I don’t know. Somebody help.

[262] Posted by angloirish on 03-14-2007 at 08:57 PM • top

Dear drdanfee,

I hear you.  Here’s what I hear, over and over:

-You are “Out, partnered, and parenting.”
-You are oppressed by foul conservatives, who are intent on stressing the antithesis between your (I don’t know what to call it – worldview ?)  and ours. 

A couple of things:

Regarding the reiterations of “out, partnered, and parenting,” you’re describing yourself.  This is who you are.  Your worldview apparently is trying to impose a synthesis on Christianity.  But that’s … you. 

I think attempts at a synthesis are phony.  But that’s … me. 

This is you.  And over here, this is me. 

My forebears, the Frisians, encountered that great man of God, Boniface.  Boniface came to them with the Gospel of Christ, speaking in a tongue they could understand (At that time, English and Frisian had not diverged too much from Anglo-Frisian, their mutual root language). 

Some of the Frisians reacted positively to the Gospel.  Some reacted negatively, murdering (martyring) Boniface. 

The Frisians who became Christians understood the scandal of the Gospel, what it would definitely cost them, and what it might ultimately cost them. 

The Frisians who rejected the Gospel were similar, in that they also understood the scandal of the Gospel, what it would definitely cost them, and what it might ultimately cost them. 

So what was left after Boniface’s martyrdom, was a group of Christians (former pagans), and a group of confirmed pagans.  Both groups understood the Gospel, and both defined themselves in relationship to the Gospel.  Whether it was rejected or embraced, the Gospel became part of their identity.  Quite frankly, I respect both groups.  I respect the people they became.  I respect the honesty of both groups.  Though, I still regret the actions of some of them. 

But their understanding of the essential antithesis of the Gospel – I respect and treasure. 

With regards to you and I ?  We still stand at our impasse.  You are over there, and I am over here. 

And my forebears of old, at their time, some of them were over here, and some of them were not over here.  But all of them, I assure you, were not standing where you are standing, now.  The Gospel is rank with offense, ddf.  There’s no getting around it.  That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it has always been.

I accept that you define yourself as “out, partnered, and parenting,” but reject your comparisons (even the minute ones) of that to heterosexual marriage. 

I accept that you are going to use every one of our conversations as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself for my oppression;  However, I reject the responsibility for your self-pity. 

But, that’s just me.  I know what the Gospel is, and have chosen not to water it down beyond meaninglessness.  Consequently, my identity, like the identities of my forebears, is defined in relationship to the Gospel. 

Am I an ass?  Perhaps. 
At least some of the time? Definitely. 
But at least I bear the mark of authenticity. 

You are over there.  I am over here.  Some of my forebears are over here too.  Some of them (unfortunately), aren’t.  But none of us stand with you.  They and myself, have reacted authentically to the Gospel, you see.

[263] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-14-2007 at 11:49 PM • top

Re - “Batman and Robin,” and the word, ‘ward.’

Uuuuuuuummmm…. How do I say this, ddf ?

Perhaps if I just said it:  No such allusion to Batman, or Robin, was made. 

You .. read that into what I wrote.

Gross.  Really, truly, gross.

[264] Posted by J Eppinga on 03-15-2007 at 12:09 AM • top

Paul B,

I agree that we should not condemn anyone, but at the same time we are commissioned to spread the gospel and not lead anyone astray.

Well, the Gospels are about Jesus, and what does Jesus tell us, over and over again?  He instructs us not to judge.  Over and over again.  Since he is who we believe he is, shouldn’t we trust him enough to at least try not to judge others? 

It seems to me that Jesus forgave sins and called people to holiness, and then told his apostles to do the same.  That sets up the model for the ordained to do that, doesn’t it?

Jesus did forgive sins.  But, no, the ordained cannot forgive sins.  They’re just people like you and me, Paul.  All they can do is ask God’s mercy on us and on themselves. 

As for “calling people to holiness,” the kind of holiness he called us to is an open, generous, egalitarian, humble-to-the-point-of-unselfconscious kind of holiness. This is the type of holiness that our grandparents’ generation called “simple goodness.”  Goodness is very different from the pure, pious, entirely too self-aware “holiness” that sets itself apart from and above its neighbor.

We make judgments about people all the time.  The person driving ahead of you makes several sudden stops for no reason or cuts cars off or whatever, you judge as dangerous and give a wide berth to.  The homeless person who approaches you on the street asking for money - most people judge to determine if he’s ‘truely’ deserving and not dangerous.

That’s the problem with words.  Jesus didn’t use the word “judge” to mean the kind of rational assessment you’re talking about.  He used it to refer to judgment that sets itself up as morally superior to its object and then uses that presumed moral superiority as an excuse to abuse (exclude, demean, in any way harm) the object of judgment.  This is very different from determining that someone is a bad driver or is dealing dishonestly with you. 

If those around us don’t call us to be more holy, how will it happen?

 

Well, the point of holiness isn’t to make ourselves all special and perfect and spotless and “holy.”  The point is to remain focused on and open to God, so that we may hear him, feel him, and allow his guidance throughout our lives. Ultimately, it’s not about how perfect we are; it’s about God— God, who wants, loves, and calls us.  So our best bet is to do as Jesus did: tell each other the Good News about God’s love for us and God’s “kingdom” that not only awaits us in the hereafter but is always, even now, open and available to us, as common as a mustard plant, as precious as the most costly pearl. Through the gift of Jesus, God has shown us how to get there.

[265] Posted by essef on 03-15-2007 at 01:01 AM • top

essef,

The scriptures are very clear that whilst human judgements are always untrustworthy and tainted with sin, the judgements of God as revealed in his word are pure and good and holy. Moreover, they are to be applied in rebuking, correcting, encouraging and teaching (2nd Timothy 3:15-16). God, in other words, commands us to communicate and declare his judgement, not our own. This, often, sounds like “judging” but that is because we do not know our scriptures or how the Lord has commanded us to use them in the Church. The most loving thing we can do for ourselves and those enslaved to sin is to keep constantly before our eyes the just judgements and revelations of God.

[266] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-15-2007 at 08:33 AM • top

Matt
I recently received an email saying, “Stand Firm welcomes Ploni Almoni!”  Something tells me this might not turn out to be the case.  Who else do you regularly exclude from Communion?  I had to do this (exclude someone) once ... was forced into it by a parishioner who would not end a very public affair with a woman from another parish.  I knew it was the right thing to do after consulting with the bishop.  It was over a year ago, and it still hurts when I think about it.  I know that allowing him to continue to receive the host AND persist in his notorious sin would be MORE damaging to him than excluding him from the Lord’s table.  But I still didn’t sleep for days.  My point is this: excluding someone from Communion should proceed with all solemnity, with “fear and trembling,” lest you become that which you despise.  Your responses seem not only casual, but gleeful. I have followed your blog for a long time (first post, though).  I have had conversations with you in person.  I suspect that you would enjoy the drama of reading the exhortation aloud, of being the righteous warrior expelling the (let’s choose a word used on this blog by you and your ilk: heathens, heretics, pagans, sashayers, etc) from GOD’S CHURCH.  I suspect that you would sleep very well after excluding someone from Communion for wearing a rainbow.  Matt, there are some among us on all facets of this crisis who are troubled (awake and asleep) at the lunacy of what is happening.  I intend NO disrespect; I entertain no hopes of “bringing you around” to “my side” of things.  I advise you to reread the rubrics about this—really READ them, not just vomit them out on your blog.

[267] Posted by Ploni Almoni on 04-28-2007 at 09:22 PM • top

Welcome Ploni Almoni:

Not sure why you are so angry, Ploni, interesting that it is all directed at Fr. Matt.  As someone who just spent last year trying to reroute a priest who had gone ‘astray’ in the Spiritual Realm - no it is NOT easy to confront sin and stand against what is not right.  However, having read a great deal of Matt’s stuff now, for about a year and half - I do not see him either as gleeful or casual.  Perhaps you are mistaking them for ‘purposeful’ and ‘authoritative’.  Since he’s an ordained priest, I don’t either is out of line.

As for this line:  I suspect that you would enjoy the drama of reading the exhortation aloud, of being the righteous warrior expelling the (let’s choose a word used on this blog by you and your ilk: heathens, heretics, pagans, sashayers, etc) from GOD’S CHURCH.

Not sure where in the world you ever read that - you might of decided that’s what’s here, but what we think as opposed to what is reality are often at odds at one another.

I wish you well… and will pray you allow your bitterness to pass so you are a great new member of this blogging world. 

Sincerely,

Eclipse

[268] Posted by Eclipse on 04-28-2007 at 09:36 PM • top

Eclipse, thank you for the welcome, even though it’s only words.  I am saddened to see that you are assigning emotions to my post.  You have already decided that I am bitter and angry.  If anything, these past few years, reading this and other blogs, I feel the sadness of someone watching a dear friend die a long, painful death.  I guess it’s only fair ... you seem to feel that I have personally attacked Matt.  I have no doubt that the Stand Firm community is made up of fine people.  I regret that you read my post that way.  But I do read a lot of eagerness and glee in many of these blogs and posts—often masquerading as zeal for the Gospel.  Moot has stated earlier that confronting Matt could have consequences that would require me to “duck” and “run.”  ?? Maybe I should stay off for a while. 

I agree with you that being purposeful and authoritative are fine qualities to be found in a priest.  But when they are not balanced by the other fruits of the Spirit ... well, a brief glance through history will reveal a host of purposeful and authoritative leaders (both secular and religious) who embodied everything the Gospel stands against.  I make no statements or claims about any of you (I don’t know you); the purpose of my first post was to urge caution in the use of excluding someone from Communion.  But seeing my comments being interpreted incorrectly (you don’t know me) on my very first post in the blogosphere has taught me one thing:
NOTHING compares to speaking in person.  The Internet is not a real community.  It is virtual, as are the talking points used by the liberal and conservative blogs.  I don’t have the luxury of being able to post constantly; I have a great deal of ministry to do.  I hope to be back but it won’t be for a while.  I told myself I would respond to this article because it had deeply troubled a colleague of mine.  It seems I’m getting drawn into the vortex that is the blogosphere! smile
If I don’t post for a while, it’s not because I got sullen and left ... I just have a great deal of RL (REAL LIFE) ministry to do.

I suppose that I should clarify my previous post before signing off:
Matt, please see this as an admonition at its most harsh.  I meant no personal attack (unless, of course, I would have to duck).  But do you honestly think that publicly excluding someone from Communion has anything other than a political value?  If you had a disturbance during your service, most people would likely say something like this:
“Good people, you are welcome to worship with us.  If you are not interested in that, we will ask you to leave.”  It’s that simple. An unfortunate response to an unfortunate disturbance.  Reading long passages from the BCP simply adds another element to the service: liturgical exclusion.  Who gets excluded next week?  And the week after that?  I DO read an element of glee in this article.  And I DO find it disturbing.  I responded to encourage extreme caution in using this exhortation.  Because here it’s being touted as a political response to a political statement.

[269] Posted by Ploni Almoni on 04-28-2007 at 10:17 PM • top

RE: “But do you honestly think that publicly excluding someone from Communion has anything other than a political value?”

Well . . . St. Paul seemed to think that public exclusion from Communion was quite important, beyond anything “political”.

RE: “I DO read an element of glee in this article.”

And someone else read an element of anger and bitterness in *your* comment.

I think all of us have the right to form and articulate an opinion about the motivations of others.  You’ve formed an opinion that Matt was gleeful in his post and Eclipse has formed an opinion that you were angry and bitter in your comment.

Of course, it will be difficult to prove otherwise for either of you, I suppose.  People may possibly change their formed opinions over a long period of time, as both of you observe each other.  But who knows . . .

RE: “Moot has stated earlier that confronting Matt could have consequences that would require me to “duck” and “run.” ??”

LOL.

Yep—you’ll need to take some martial arts so that you can defend yourself against Matt’s violent nature.  ; > )

[roll eyes]

RE: “Something tells me this [welcome] might not turn out to be the case.”

Nonsense!  We relish reappraisers coming over to this blog.  We need them to keep our wits sharp.  We need them as great examples of what we’re talking about.  We need them to raise people’s blood pressure.  We need them to provide skirmishing!!

Welcome!

; > )

[270] Posted by Sarah on 04-28-2007 at 10:38 PM • top

Moot has stated earlier that confronting Matt could have consequences that would require me to “duck” and “run.” ??”

When did I say that?  Could you link that for me, because I don’t remember saying something like that.  I think I remember trying to cool off one gentleman who kept accusing +Matt of being some kind of reappraiser-Trojan-Horse (chuckle).  Then again, I’ve got a lot on my mind these days;  maybe it slipped my mind. 

Ahh.. The rule of thumbs I see around here are:
a) stick to the topic;
b) if (a) is transgressed against, do not push it too far;
c)  Play nice
d)  If (c) is trangressed against, do not push it too far. 

Generally, it’s not a free-for-all ‘round these parts, but it’s not oppressive (not really) like you’d expect.  Probably more like an Old West mining town, than anything.  There’s law in these parts, but it’s good for everyone. 

Welcome aboard. 

Finally… I commend you for how you dealt with the adulterous parishoner.  You may have felt horrible, but you showed him God’s Love.  I believe that is what discipline is really all about, even though it looks like pushing them down into the dust.

[271] Posted by J Eppinga on 04-28-2007 at 10:52 PM • top

Ploni Almoni—

How very odd.

You come to this blog more than a month after the last comment was made, and proceed to slam Matt with comments such as this:

I advise you to reread the rubrics about this—really READ them, not just vomit them out on your blog.

Then you get your feelings hurt when someone accuses you of being bitter?

I know you’re going to take this the wrong way but I am compelled to suggest that you seek psychological counseling ASAP. I am afraid you are dwelling much too long in the guilt of having confronted a sinner and taken appropriate action. That’s what a priest does. And if it causes that much grief, guilt, and bitterness, you’ve got to be dealing with a host of other issues as well.

Ah yes, you’ll say that I don’t know you but your pain and anguish and vitrole come through quite clearly in your writing.

If you feel this much pain over refusing communion to an unrentant sinner so lomg ago, you might ought to seriously reconsider your vocation.

I will pray that you overcome your guilt and pain. I am sure that Father Matt will pray for you as well.

[272] Posted by Forgiven on 04-29-2007 at 01:10 AM • top

Wow! It appears that Stand Firm’s brute squad is on the prowl!
Been There
Obviously I need psychological counseling because I
a: experienced a great deal of pain when I excluded someone from Communion
b: became indignant when accused of being bitter and angry.  As I said before, I am deeply saddened by developments in religion in the U.S. (that’s another long, long story). 
I’d rather lose three days of sleep afterwards than maintain the cavalier attitude about exclusion that you’re suggesting.  It’s clear that you are no psychologist.  Having studied psychology, I could offer explanations as to why it would be healthy for someone to experience pain and grief when, for example, excluding another from Communion.  The use of this procedure was always meant to be private, never a public way to pat yourself on the back for your “orthodoxy,” or to use your authority to make a group of people feel small and worthless—in a Church, no less!  Perhaps you are the one who needs to see a therapist, if you would take such joy denying Communion.
FYI, I posted so late on this because I didn’t know about it.  I missed the article entirely when it was written.  A friend mentioned it to me a couple of days back—a friend who was shocked at what he had read here.  These responses—particularly yours and Eclipse’s—are typical. When someone disagrees with you, or calls your position into question, be sure to call in a host of responses from other people, belittle the poster’s emotions, call the person’s mental health into question, and make sure you cement your own self-righteousness by saying, “I’ll pray for you.” 
I’ll pray for you too.  And I certainly won’t be back to provide you with more skirmish fodder. 
(shakes dust from feet)

[273] Posted by Ploni Almoni on 04-29-2007 at 06:07 AM • top

Let’s see. 

Ploni Almoni disagrees with Matt’s position, calls Matt’s motives into question by saying that Matt enjoys “the drama” of being “the righteous warrior”, speculates that Matt “sleeps very well”, and then states that Matt’s opinions are “vomit[ed] . . .  out on your blog.”  He points out, in contrast, how he himself is just so deeply saddened by what he had to do as a priest—thus revealing “his own self-righteousness”, all in his inaugural comment.

And then, when responded to by others who point out his manifest silliness, Ploni Almoni accuses them . . . of doing exactly the same thing!  ; > )  “When someone disagrees with you, or calls your position into question, be sure to call in a host of responses from other people, belittle the poster’s emotions, call the person’s mental health into question, and make sure you cement your own self-righteousness by saying, “I’ll pray for you.”

[Chuckle] A typical reappraiser.  Doing exactly what he claims that others are doing to him and then becoming outraged and offended when people call him on it.

RE: “And I certainly won’t be back to provide you with more skirmish fodder.”

And we’re Completely Shattered at Our Terrible Loss.  ; > )

But not to worry—there are plenty of others who do a far better job than PA at defending their positions.

[274] Posted by Sarah on 04-29-2007 at 07:47 AM • top

Ploni Almoni:

Sorry, Ploni, I meant to get back to this and didn’t.  If my impressions about your writing were wrong, then I apologize, however, Sarah’s summary of why they would be taken that way are too concise to repeat.  So, the impression was there whether you meant it to be or not.

Re:  Always speaking in person

I don’t know about that.  Sometimes, the written word is better

because if you are like I am, and often speak without thinking, writing is a better choice for confrontation for me because I usually have less to regret (and more to ponder) if I have to write it down.

Re:  Communion

See, I read Matt’s articles and didn’t find him either gleeful or cavalier in his attitude in the least.  If standing for the truth is either of those, then I guess, he’s guilty.  However, I’d suspect he’d not jump from the altar and run people down - something tells me he’d deal with it a little more humanely that that… just as you or I would. 

Let’s all give one another a measure of grace and a little breathing room… and try not to be so easily offended.

[275] Posted by Eclipse on 04-29-2007 at 04:33 PM • top

Obviously I need psychological counseling because I
a: experienced a great deal of pain when I excluded someone from Communion

You felt bad for encouraging this man to open the door to his heart to the Lover-Par-Excellance (something that would have positive effects in his home life, and in his Home life), so you went to a psychologist ??

[276] Posted by J Eppinga on 04-29-2007 at 05:29 PM • top

Registered members are welcome to leave comments. Log in here, or register here.


Comment Policy: We pride ourselves on having some of the most open, honest debate anywhere about the crisis in our church. However, we do have a few rules that we enforce strictly. They are: No over-the-top profanity, no racial or ethnic slurs, and no threats real or implied of physical violence. Please see this post for more. Although we rarely do so, we reserve the right to remove or edit comments, as well as suspend users' accounts, solely at the discretion of site administrators. Since we try to err on the side of open debate, you may sometimes see comments that you believe strain the boundaries of our rules. Comments are the opinions of visitors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Stand Firm, its board of directors, or its site administrators.